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. By monitoring student progress through informal and formal assessments, teachers can provide additional support or enrichment to students depending on their level of mastery.
Mastery learning has a strong evidence base that meets AERO’s highest standards of evidence. For more information about the evidence base, see below:
Mastery learning is effective across a variety of contexts
To understand whether mastery learning is effective across a variety of contexts, AERO conducted a review of 81 studies. The review found that mastery learning is an effective teaching practice across a variety of contexts and for different subgroups of students. Studies conducted across various locations suggest that mastery learning:
- has a positive impact on achievement in mathematics, sciences, social studies and English and foreign languages
- works for primary and secondary students
- is effective particularly for lower achieving students, with higher achieving students also benefitting.
Because of this, mastery learning is likely to work in most contexts.
Snapshots of practice
Mastery learning may look different in different contexts. See below examples of Mastery learning in a variety of classrooms and settings:
Here you will find tools to help you implement mastery learning in your classroom or setting.