Mastery Based Grading: The Role of Homework

Sep 6, 2016 | by Janice Smith

While visiting KIPP King Collegiate HS last year we had a chance to sit down with Hari Vasu-Devan, a teacher and Instructional Coach, about their recent switch to mastery based grading (also called Standards-Based grading).  This has been a common topic of conversation when we visit schools, especially high schools, as teams and teachers grapple with how exactly you implement it.  We’ve been met with lots of questions about how we’ve seen other schools implement, so we were excited when Hari agreed to sit down and chat with us about their process.

For those who are less familiar, the majority of ‘grades’ in schools across the country are a mix of effort-based grades combined with mastery.  They may consist of everything from student participation, to homework completion, to weekly quizzes to Unit Assessments.  Many schools are working to transition away from effort-based grading (or any grade system that involves rewarding effort or completion) towards more mastery-based grades, that purely reflect a student’s grasp of the academic content and the percentage of that content they’ve mastered.  A quick google search will result in lots of articles about why, or why not, to make the switch, but even for those who support it in theory, they’re still left with the logistical questions around how to make the switch.

This week we’re featuring a clip that focuses specifically Hari’s thoughts on the role of homework in mastery based grading, but of course if you head to the Mission 100% video library and search ‘mastery based grading’ you’ll find more clips discussing how they made this transition at KIPP King.

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