Applying Mastery Learning in the College Classroom Ron DelPorto & Carla Torgerson
Instructional Problems Problem 1: • students don’t read – or don’t read well • students don’t know what to focus on in a reading assignment Problem 2: • it’s difficult to know what the students understand and don’t understand from your lessons
Mastery Learning • students will learn best if they fully understand, or master, one concept before going on to the next • all students can master a concept if given enough time and the right educational experiences • method: give learning experiences followed by quizzes; students who don’t reach mastery are given additional learning experiences and quizzes
Problems with Mastery Quiz • can’t afford to use class time for this • logistics of test‑taking and grading are difficult and time‑intensive because students take quiz repeatedly • difficult to give timely feedback
Compared to RATs Quizzes • very similar type of quiz • allows multiple retakes • done before the class when the conceptis covered
Our Solution: Use ANGEL • quiz feature in ANGEL: • automatically graded • provides immediate feedback • allows multiple retakes • able to control quiz availability
Ron’s Approach • quiz available: Thursday midnight;reading is covered in class starting Monday • quiz disappears: same time as class begins • students expected to score at least 80% • if less than 80% -- grade recorded is 0 • if more than 80% -- get their last score • all quizzes worth 6% of course grade • one quiz each week; ~15 quizzes total
Ron’s Approach • quiz questions: • mostly multiple choice • some True/False • multiple choice – not multiple guess! • lots of distractors • feedback: • refers students to read specific parts of text • sometimes gives a hint
Advantages • students take the quiz at any time of day • students retake quiz as often as needed • automatic grading and feedback • reasonably easy to create quizzes • instructor can get summary data
Key Advantages • students have read – and read well (students revisit the reading until theyachieve mastery) • students understanding improves • students can use quiz as reading guide • minimal instructor time required
Student Feedback • Honestly, although I am ashamed to say this, without the Mastery Quizzes, I probably would not be properly prepared for class. • They are a little annoying, but they did make me look over the chapters before class, which is good. • The quizzes are very helpful. I wish we had something similar to them in all classes. They force you to read and pick up on key facts.
Student Feedback (con’t) • I think they definitely help students to see what the main concepts are in the chapter and help to tie together loose ends. • Maybe you should go over the quiz answers more completely in class to make sure students understand WHY the answers were correct.
Minute Paper • Angelo and Cross (1993) • given at the end of class • asks three questions: • What was the most important thing you learned in this class? • What important question remains unanswered? • What was the “muddiest point” in today’s lecture?
Ron’s Approach • takes last 3-5 min. of class • given after introducing a new concept • about one every week-and-a-half • anonymous • not graded • used to tailor the next lecture • minimal instructor time required (~20min. for class of 60)
Key Advantages • allows you to know what students need help with before you cover the next concept • gives students some ownership of the class; makes class more personable
Student Feedback • I think the minute papers are a nice way of letting you know what the class does not understand. • Minute papers are good and should be utilized more often. • I think they are a great learning tool. They clear up foggy issues and ultimately help me do better in the course. KEEP DOING THE MINUTE PAPERS.
Student Feedback (con’t) • Minute papers are also a good idea for this class. The material is hard and the class size is sort of big. They allow everyone to have a voice. • The Minute Papers is (sic) the best way to get student concerns regarding a particular topic. I commend Mr Ron for implementing this idea • I think letting us give input about what we did and did not understand helped alot. And having it covered in class for a second time was very beneficial.
Student Feedback (con’t) • More minute papers would help us. • The minute papers were sort of a chore to do in class but it was very helpful because the next class period we went over our questions. It helped to understand to (sic) material better and made the ideas come more into perspective.
Overall Feedback I am having a very hard time in theclass. I have learned an ample amount of information and have thoroughly enjoyed it, but it has been a very big struggle. The mastery quizzes and minute papers have definitely proven valuable but the labs are very very challenging.