Self-paced mastery learning in an academic physical science class and its effect on student achievement, engagement and self-efficacy
Stone, Amanda Corinne
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Research has shown that tiered instruction and self-paced activity progression improves student achievement and motivation. This study examined the use of self-paced mastery learning units in a high school academic physical science class. Following a grid of learning opportunities, students progressed to new learning objectives only after reaching 80% mastery on their current learning objectives. Data was collected to determine the interventions' effect on student achievement, engagement and self-efficacy. Medium to large academic learning gains were reported using the mastery learning interventions. Survey data indicated that students had a more difficult time paying attention while working through units with mastery learning grids, and that class was not as easy after the interventions. Some felt more challenged. Student self-efficacy increased, as they became more confident accessing resources for help. Implications for further research include testing the method at the beginning of the school year, adjusting the incorporation of hands-on activities in the mastery learning format, and using the strategy for a few select concepts as opposed to a full unit.