Moscow Parents Skeptical Of Mastery-Based Education

I’ve had MSD parents mention this to me as well. 

Parents and other stakeholders voiced their apprehension over the Moscow School District’s efforts to implement mastery-based education system-wide in an open meeting Monday night.

Promoted on social media by the Facebook group, MSD Standards, the meeting drew about 30 people, mostly parents, to the second-floor conference room in Moscow’s Federal Building.

Mastery-based education seeks to emphasize a student’s “mastery” of a given subject rather than a cumulative score based on overall performance. Hallmarks of the system include replacement of the standard letter grade with a 1-through-4 grading system and the ability for students to retake tests and redo assignments.

And here is where the rub is. Retaking something as many times as it takes to pass does not demonstrate nor create mastery. 

Parents and others at Monday’s meeting expressed skepticism over the program’s efficacy and were especially concerned over how the system is being rolled out in the district, which they said was done in relative secrecy.

Some Moscow schools switched to the new numbered grading system this year and some of those in attendance said they are already starting to see problems with student performance and confusion among teachers and parents over just how to execute the shift.

Parent Dale Miller, who helped to lead Monday’s discussion, said similar programs implemented in other parts of the country have had limited success.

“Mastery-based learning as a concept is wonderful, it just never works — it’s a utopian vision that turns into a dystopia incredibly quickly,” Miller said. “We’ve already seen it in our students — we’ve seen student apathy, we’ve already seen unintended consequences galore and we’ve already seen a bunch of parents going … ‘I don’t understand it.’ ”

Parents skeptical of mastery-based education

Parents and other stakeholders voiced their apprehension over the Moscow School District’s efforts to implement mastery-based education system-wide in an open meeting Monday night. Promoted on social media by the Facebook group, MSD Standards, the meeting drew about 30 people, mostly parents, to the second-floor conference room in Moscow’s Federal Building.

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