– Jon Bergmann –
Student grades are due at the end of this week, and I am reflecting on what has gone well and not so well in Flipped Mastery. Three things have surfaced: Time Overload, Pacing, and Deadlines.
When I started teaching again after seven years, I committed to implementing Flipped Mastery in all of my classes. Little did I realize just how big of a commitment that would be. The number of moving parts has been at times overwhelming.
Trying to determine just how hard to push students towards mastery is a fine balance. I teach at a high-performing school in which much is expected. Our students are amazing, but I am aware of just how hard we are pushing. Since I am teaching new content, I don’t have a real sense of how much to expect from each given topic. What has helped me with pacing has been as I create our Quest Guides, I estimate how much time each activity will take. (See the charts below).
Essentially what I do is add up the total time I expect students to spend working on given activities/videos/tests, and then compare that with the number of minutes of class time, and then figure out what a reasonable target is. However, what I haven’t done very well is to anticipate the typical student interruptions that invariably occur in the school schedule (Homecoming week, special schedules, etc). I feel that the process is almost there and that I will soon have a better idea about how to pace.
One last thing on pacing: I feel that pushing students a bit on pacing helps to move things along. And then if I have to dial it back towards the end of a week, the students are only thankful.
What happens when students get behind? This is one of the biggest issues in a mastery class. As the quarter came to a close, I set expectations that students needed to have mastered up to level 3 (unit 3) in each course. This included them passing with a minimum of 80 percent on their summative tests. For most students, this was not a problem. They did well and “passed” on their first or second attempt. However, some of them took the exams four and even five times. Those students who took them over and over can be grouped into two categories
One thing I want to change is to be more insistent on making the learning as close to the assessment as possible. Some students procrastinated taking their unit exams (Boss Battles), and by the time they did, the main learning for that topic had passed two weeks prior. This created a gap and students tended to struggle with the older concepts as we had moved on during the daily class time. However, in the end, they all passed their Boss Battles so it could be seen as a positive since students really had to know the content and not have just memorized it for the test.
As I continue teaching using the Flipped-Mastery model, I am finding more and more ways to tweak it and make it even better for my students.