Mastery-based learning is available to more and more students in Idaho. On June 9, 2020 at the first virtual convening of the Idaho Mastery Education Network, the Idaho State Department of Education released the Idaho Mastery Education Framework, which helps advance personalized learning options for students.
At the event, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra greeted over 300 participants, who shared their successes transitioning to and implementing mastery education. In addressing convening attendees, Ybarra said those communities “have an advantage in being able to respond to unexpected interruptions to traditional teaching and learning. Your students know how to take ownership of their learning and seek out the help they need to accomplish what they need to.”
In 2013, the Idaho Task Force for Improving Education made a key recommendation to shift to a mastery-based system. Two years later the Idaho legislature passed and Governor Otter signed House Bill 110. The bill created a mastery-based education incubator process and precipitated the Idaho Mastery Education Network (IMEN).
Now almost 70 schools in Idaho formally participate in the IMEN with growing interest.
A shared framework for learning
A key highlight of the convening was the release of the first Idaho Mastery Education Framework. The primary objective of the Framework was to provide a common vision and expectations for mastery education that could be easily understood by parents, policymakers and the public while simultaneously guiding local educators in designing systems that meet the needs of local communities and deepen engagement. Additionally, the Framework will serve as the foundation for future evaluations and school grant applications.
The enabling legislation contained clear language specifying legislative intent.
The legislature finds that moving toward mastery-based education where students progress as they demonstrate mastery of a subject or grade level is in the best interest of Idaho students. The legislature further finds that moving from the current time-based system to a mastery-based approach will allow for more personalized and differentiated learning. This approach focuses on explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students through competencies that demonstrate application, knowledge and skill development.
The four components of the Framework were taken directly from this language.
- Learning Personalized
- Mastery Recognized
- Competencies Demonstrated
- Students Empowered
The Idaho Mastery Education Framework can be found here and is open for public feedback.