See how Mastery Learning is implemented in different classrooms at Trinity College.
Watch Mastery Learning | Trinity College | Australian Education Research Organisation on YouTube.

Duration: 4:18

Mastery learning is a way of designing units of work so that each set of tasks focuses on a particular learning objective and students must master a task to move onto the next one. See how Mastery Learning is implemented in different classrooms at Trinity College.


Caitlin McManus (Year 6 classroom teacher): The mastery of learning involves students developing skills and acquisition of those skills over time. They participate in tasks and then those tasks build upon and build upon so that we have a really sophisticated understanding of our learning.

Jarrod Warnest (Year 2 classroom teacher): Learning intentions and success criteria are really important for mastery learning. The learning intention describes the learning that's happening in the lesson, not the task itself. The success criteria breaks down the learning and should provide the students opportunities to show evidence of that learning. I break work down into smaller tasks with clear objectives by first of all, being really clear on what the learning intentions are of the lesson. And I try and make sure these are aligned to curriculum standards as well. Then I look at breaking down that learning into manageable tasks, and that becomes my success criteria for the lesson. I try to make sure that my success criteria can be tailored to all learning needs in my classroom.

Now, you need to say two things, what you really like about the plan, and you could also say next time you could try...

Caitlin McManus: Revision is really important, if you build into tasks where we're practising  the foundation of skills, and then slowly build that over time. Students will revise like classic number skills and then build up their learning as they go. So reviewing those base skills and then slowly adding in more sophisticated learnings.

Do the graph. Okay. Is there another way that you could look at it?

Extending students is really important and the data actually informs us the students who are high achievers are often the most vulnerable within our learning spaces. Simple questioning skills and getting them to justify their thinking is very important in terms of a mathematics space. So providing them opportunities to further justify, prove that they're right, and show it in multiple ways extends their thinking.

Jarrod Warnest: Data collection is really important for mastery learning and there's multiple sources that we use in the classroom. So it could be as simple as a pre-test to understand the prior knowledge of the students, but we've also have access to college-wide data and that gives scope and sequence. It provides us an opportunity to know where the students are at and to create really targeted learning.

Caitlin McManus: Looking at data is a key component of teaching and learning. If you engage with the data before your practise, but also throughout, it allows you to critically evaluate whether something is working effectively and has the most impact.

Jarrod Warnest: We can look at that data, find a starting point for the students that's appropriate to their level of learning. And then create some success criteria that offers them opportunities to master those experiences before we move on to the next.

Caitlin McManus: Stopping and giving students feedback on that is critically important as well. So if you looked at, in the year six maths classroom, we stopped and reviewed where are we at with? Have I shown that I can collect and analyse data? Where to next? So there's multiple ways of getting the times like...

Jarrod Warnest: To give feedback that's task focused rather than feedback focused is really difficult because you always want to say well done. But what you should be doing is always tailoring your feedback to the success criteria of the lesson and the learning that should be taking place. And if you do that, the research suggests that they're going to have much improved academic outcomes.

Caitlin McManus: I think it enables you to step away from planning and implementing your teaching as though little steps and step back and see the bigger picture. Okay. What is the purpose for what we're doing? And how does that look in terms of a master of learning in that space? Every student in your maths class is capable and they can achieve to the same extent as everyone else in that class, no matter where they come from, their ability, they can access the learning and they can achieve amazing things if given that opportunity.

Keywords: practice implementation, evidence-based teaching