Mastery Learning: Unlocking Students' Potential Beyond Grades - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1579 Words
Date:  2023-03-04


The contemporary world has realized the complexity and nuance associated with education. Using grades to gauge a student's capability is just arbitrary and straightforward. Schools aim to inspire their students into higher levels of knowledge and discourse. However, there is no one point where grades have been associated with learning outcomes. Mastery learning has been meant to advance a student's potential for learning (McGaghie et al. 375). Contrary to other traditional methods, sufficient attention, time, and assistance is offered to individual students. Mastery learning in the modern world has been used as a useful teaching model. Mastery learning has better-represented student aptitude and skills compared to classroom grades intended to measure knowledge. Students in classrooms that have gotten rid of grades tend to do better in schools and future careers.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Classrooms that use grades to measure performance prevent a student's authentic reflection. Students ought to either learn through grades or feedback. However, the latter proves to be more effective as reflection is a critical aspect of students' education. Instead of grades, students educated through mastery learning receive feedback, and it is through reflection that they understand their corrections. However, performance measured through grades does not have the advantage of reflection; hence, mistakes become recurrent yet not internalized or reviewed. Effective learning is the product of adjusting to one's mistakes, and students who are engaged in classrooms that have eliminated grades in their systems tend to be more prosperous in education and future Career.

Grades are a hindrance to individual self-esteem. According to Fusarelli, labelling students is not included among the primary goals of education; hence, assigning student grades brings in the concept of success and failure (72). Mastery learning ensures that self-confidence, as well as self-esteem values, are conserved. Academic success is a crucial determinant of individual self-worth in any learning institution. Therefore, students who receive poor grades take their selves as dumb. They deny their worth in education as soon as they receive their grades. However, classrooms that eliminate grades have let students realize their self-worth and confidence by ensuring that they adjust to their mistakes effectively. Therefore, these students conversely base their self-worth on other matters other than high achievement. They tend not to be highly or lowly anxious and do not also stress their selves in their lives. Therefore, students using mastery learning are prone to achieve the best in their education and future.

Classrooms that measure academic success through grades inhibit intrinsic motivation. According to the theory of intrinsic motivation, students can accomplish their objectives from their inner drive to succeed (Lepper, Jennifer & Sheena 184). This is contrary to reinforced goals, which are only achieved through threats and punishment (Lepper, Jennifer & Sheena 185). From an academic perspective, grades measure success and failure, and these are the threats and punishments. Achieving profound learning would call for more significant input in terms of intrinsic motivation. However, incorporating grades into an education system damages the education system as assignments and test papers do not become any meaningful to students. However, assigning time and ensuring that mastery learning is followed ensures that only the directly relevant information be issued to students. Therefore, students and teachers end up in lesser busy work but see more exceptional outcomes in classrooms that have replaced grading systems with mastery learning. Students who get meaningful and directly relevant content tend to succeed more in their education and later careers compared to those who are tested continuously through grades.

Classrooms that use grades as performance measures demand that learning should be uniform. According to Yoon, Wade, & Conrad, grades require uniformity (481). This is prevalent in all aspects of education, including input, process, and output. For highly-performing students, it may seem some type of discrimination learning the same way as others who are lesser performing. Additionally, for those who do not perform better in education, they may struggle much to catch up with those who are high performing. Mastery learning eliminates the idea that all students should progress through the curriculum at the same pace and way. Therefore, there are no concepts of accomplishment, adequacy, and excellence in mastery learning. These are the products of success as more time is allowed for individual students to perform. Classrooms that have eliminated grades in their curriculum do not measure students' uniformity in terms of excellence, compliance, and effort (Fusarelli 75). Each student, therefore, learns at their pace and effectively meet their goals independently.

Classrooms that have eliminated the need for grades do not measure students in terms of how they have grasped the material taught. Teachers who prefer to measure academic success in terms of grades tend to encourage points of comparison between the student and their peers. Today, almost anyone understands that grades are a subjective number that is based on the instructor's syllabus. In that regard, students tend to grapple heavily to achieve a high grade without minding the content acquired. Almost every institution is offering rubrics for students as guides to their assignments. However, many students do not understand the language used in rubrics and cannot comply well with the content being graded. In mastery learning, it is the direct opposite as students get to understand what is being taught by consistently adjusting their mistakes. Only a few institutions are grade-less, and those who practice the system do not care about any sorts of rewards or punishments to measure achievement (Fusarelli 75). Therefore, students become motivated to work harder to master the content being taught. As a result, the motivation recurs to their careers, and high achievement is perceived in their later lives.

Learning institutions that encourage grading systems as key measures of student performance lets their students think of learning as a chore. Instead of working smart to achieve their goals, students tend to work hard to beat their peers academically. The objective of learning is to ensure that individual students achieve what they want in life. Therefore, grades only let students think of avoiding challenging tasks. They, therefore, think less deeply compared to those who learn in grade-less institutions. Additionally, students who are graded tend to fall apart as soon as they realize they failed. They are also not given a chance to adjust to their mistakes. The students only input more into ability, and the entire process seems to be focused on attaining a particular grade to avoid punishment. The modern society would want the process to become just as important as the outcome. Without a good learning process, the result can be affected. However, mastery learning ensures that the learning process is on par with students' expectations. Therefore, those who learn in grade-fewer systems tend to attain good educational outcomes compared to those involved in grading systems.

Mastery learning is not a new concept as the idea of transformational education innovation has always existed, only that it has been insufficiently practiced (Wentling 51). Students benefit through mastery learning in a variety of ways, including moving forward at their own pace while capturing the knowledge, dispositions, and skills. Phasing off the grading system and replacing it with mastery learning proves to be an essential strategy as it can completely change how students get educated, how schools work, and how teachers deliver content (McGaghie et al. 375). Students may also see state testing being revolutionized. These would create more and better opportunities in the labor market. Mastery learning is an art and could also transform the entire curriculum. Students could feel it through getting different measures of learning. Furthermore, mastery learning ensures that education is delivered in sequence. This sequence can be perceived as hierarchical. Students can, therefore, grasp each content before they advance to the next steps. Therefore, before learning complex behavior, students ought to first determine the less complex ones. This can be well explained through algebra. Students graded for content involving complex material such as algebra may strain to meet their goals than those learning through mastery learning.


In conclusion, education is a complex system with various strategies such as grading systems and mastery learning, where the process determines the outcome. Many institutions are letting students advance into higher levels of knowledge regardless of the methods being used. The grading system has been described as the most challenging education process aimed at allowing students to meet their goals effectively. Grades hinder authentic reflection, decrease self-esteem, get rid of intrinsic motivation, encourage uniformity and comparison among students, and only let students think of learning as an activity. However, mastery learning has many benefits, including helping students to learn at their own pace while capturing relevant skills and lets students experience revolutionized testing. Furthermore, students do not miss out on essential aspects of the process while engaged in mastery learning. Therefore, students whose classes have eliminated grades become better achievers in their education and later careers.

Works Cited

Fusarelli, Lance D. "The potential impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on equity and diversity in American education." Educational policy, volume 18, no. 1, 2004, 71-94.

Lepper, Mark R., Jennifer Henderlong Corpus, and Sheena S. Iyengar. "Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations in the classroom: Age differences and academic correlates." Journal of educational psychology, volume 97, no. 2, 2005, 184-191.

McGaghie, William C., et al. "A critical review of simulationbased mastery learning with translational outcomes." Medical Education, volume 48, no. 4, 2014, 375-385.

Wentling, Tim L. Mastery versus non-mastery instruction with varying test item feedback treatments. Journal of Educational Psychology, volume 65, no. 2, 50-58, 1973

Yoon, Byung-Sam, B. Wade Brorsen, and Conrad P. Lyford. "Value of increasing kernel uniformity." Journal of agricultural and resource economics, volume 27, no. 2, 2002, 481-494.

Cite this page

Mastery Learning: Unlocking Students' Potential Beyond Grades - Research Paper. (2023, Mar 04). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism