Determining Mastery For Instructional Strategies

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Determining Mastery for Instructional Strategies Determining mastery can be a complex procedure even for the most experienced educators. It involves not only a designated percentage on assessments, but also must take into account the cognitive complexity of the assessment as well as the nature of the learning goal students are being asked to master. This further requires consideration for “the rigor of expectations set for students’ performance” (Guskey, 2001). An assessment can contain items or tasks that are so challenging that even students who receive a low “cutoff” score can be deemed as having achieved mastery. For example, think about the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Though a student may only answer half of the test questions for the GRE physics exam correctly, due to the complexity of the questions, they will have performed better than over 70 percent of those who take the test. Another factor in determining mastery is professional judgement. Like it or not, scores on assessments aren’t always completely accurate and some level of professional judgement is required to adjust scores for error, for example, slightly lowering the score out of concern for false rejection—or incorrectly “classifying a master as a non-master” (Guskey & Andermann, 2014). This false rejection could be detrimental for borderline students in that it would affect their confidence and their desire to continue pursuing mastery as well as causing otherwise talented students not to pass a
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