Planning for Success: A Guide for the Implementation a Mastery Based Education Program

Though research has shown mastery-based education (MBE) to be an effective approach to improving student achievement and motivation, it is still an innovation that few institutions have successfully implemented. By identifying common elements encountered by early implementers of MBE, this project was designed to provide a guide for the successful implementations of a Mastery Based Education system. Research and analysis of past and current efforts to implement mastery-based programs allowed for the identification of areas of success as well as areas of need. To verify the findings of the review of literature, an anonymous online survey was conducted of faculty at a newly launched MBE program. Studies concluded the three most significant areas of need were program alignment, preparation, and the instructional cycle. This project then drew from the tenets of organizational change theory and applied them to issues confronting innovative educational leaders when attempting educational reform. The resulting Guide for the Implementation a Mastery Based Education Program provides strategies for addressing (a) program alignment with a school’s mission and vision, state standards, and all instructional components; (b) preparation, including creating buy-in, initial development and training, and continuous support; and (c) the instructional cycle, including formative assessments, feedback, and interventions or enrichment. The guide concludes with a list of guiding questions educational leaders can use to evaluate their implementation plan. This project provides a valuable tool that institutions can use when considering the major shift to Mastery Based Education.