The Intent of a ‘Mastery’ Curriculum

“You know you’ve mastered something when you can apply it to a totally new problem in an unfamiliar situation. “

Dr Helen Drury, ‘Mastering Mathematics’ OUP 2014

“All pupils can learn all things given the right time and appropriate conditions”

Mark Mccourt, ‘Teaching for Mastery’ 

Mastery is…

  • Fewer topics covered giving longer to focus on each topic
  • The Curriculum is cumulative that allows for depth
  • Each year focuses on the big concepts and skills that underpin later work
  • To apply prior learning alongside new learning where appropriate
  • To continually recap
  • The cumulate structure needs to be taught in order otherwise results in gap in learning 
  • Time is allocated for reviewing concepts at relevant points and giving time for students to be able to catch up
  • Problem solving is at the heart, but to use different representation and scenarios

Mastery is not…

  • linear learning
  • everybody taking the test at the same time
  • marking at the end of 6 weeks or a term 
  • a conveyer belt that cannot be stopped dictated by a curriculum
  • assessments that are used to rank order and label students
  • holding students back who are ready to proceed
  • giving students an extension task, bigger numbers or harder books to read for stretch and challenge
  • having to achieve 100% for each assessment 
  • repeating the task more slowly for those did not understand it the first time
  • formal assessments at the end of 6 weeks
  • not a prescribed and rigid curriculum
  • being able to just demonstrate progress in the one lesson