How to Implement Mastery Learning in Your Classroom


Mastery learning and teaching is a method for ensuring all learners meet a certain standard of comprehension or ability before moving on. Instructors set a benchmark of knowledge for learners to meet. Then, all assessment in this tactic is formative, where learners are given feedback and as much time as possible to improve before progressing.


  • Learners are not left behind, and gaps in their knowledge are not overlooked.
  • Learners may feel rushed with this strategy.
  • Failure is not an option as instructors and learners keep working on the learning outcome until success is achieved.


  • Instructors don’t have enough time to implement this approach.
  • The difference in abilities between learners means some learners will get a long way ahead while others remain a long way behind.


  1. Diagnostic Pre-Assessment with Pre-Teaching: Most mastery learning models stress the importance of administering a quick and targeted pre-assessment to all learners before starting instruction to gauge whether they have the background knowledge and skills for success in the proposed learning experience.
  2. High-Quality, Group-Based Initial Instruction: Every description of mastery learning emphasizes the importance of engaging all learners in high-quality, developmentally appropriate, research-based instruction.
  3. Progress Monitoring through Regular Formative Assessments: Another feature of mastery learning is the use of regular formative assessments to monitor student progress and give learners prescriptive feedback systematically.
  4. High-Quality Corrective Instruction: Following formative assessments, mastery learning instructors provide high-quality corrective instruction designed to remedy whatever learning problems the assessments identified.
  5. Second, Parallel Formative Assessments: After corrective activities, mastery learning instructors give learners a second, parallel formative assessment that helps gauge the effectiveness of the remedial instruction and offers learners a second chance to demonstrate mastery and experience success.
  6. Enrichment or Extension Activities: Mastery learning instructors also offer productive enrichment activities that provide valuable, rigorous, and rewarding learning experiences for learners who have mastered the material and do not need corrective instruction.
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