What does it mean to master a subject? And how can schools help students get there? The December 2013/January 2014 issue of Educational Leadership focuses on how educators can help students achieve mastery as they learn. But what does mastery mean? And how can teachers be sure students have achieved it? Authors in this issue consider these questions from a variety of angles, offering definitions of mastery and discussing how a focus on mastery might transform classroom practices.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer notes that the concept of mastery is difficult to grasp, but that the concept of mastery learning is relatively straightforward. It's the idea of setting clear objectives, providing students with opportunities for practice, checking for understanding, reteaching in different and new ways if needed, and, finally, giving students more than one chance to demonstrate the attainment of the goal. Mastery learning puts students first.