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Idaho Mastery Education is a student-centered learning system, codified in Idaho law, that promotes relevant learning while allowing flexibility in both time and teaching methods, where student success is the only option.


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Student-Centered Learning Through Mastery

Student-centered learning is the process central to implementing the Idaho Mastery Education system. Across Idaho, teachers and schools are adopting a variety of approaches aimed at the shared goals of ensuring that our students achieve at higher levels and gain the knowledge and skills they need through student-centered learning, more meaningful interaction with teachers, and an optimal learning pace.

Student-centered learning:

  • Promotes high-quality standards, equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce.
  • Empowers students to shape learning experiences that reflect their emerging sense of self and align with their interests and needs.
  • Enables students to build relationships, make well-informed decisions, and create strong connections across their learning experiences.
  • Ensures that ideas and theories from the classroom connect to students’ lived experiences and interests in their communities.

Mastery education gives students the chance to use meaningful content in ways that encourage deeper levels of learning so they acquire the knowledge, skills, and characteristics essential for success in a future we can only imagine. When students demonstrate that they are proficient under rigorous expectations, they take greater ownership and responsibility for learning. This helps educators and students eliminate false assumptions about learning that are associated with points, percentages, and grades.

Preparing Students for Success in Careers, College & Life

By working to ensure that students graduate high school with the skills and knowledge required by post-secondary education and the workplace, Idaho’s Mastery Education teachers are also addressing one of Idaho’s biggest and most intractable challenges—getting more of our students to “go on” to post-secondary education and training.

THE TRADITIONAL TIME-BASED SYSTEM OF EDUCATION, where advancement is based largely on seat time rather than the true acquisition of skills and knowledge, has become inadequate for meeting the needs of all students. Credits, advancement, and diplomas that are based on seat time, barely passing grades, or a tenuous command of subject material create mixed messages for students and families.

Mastery Education challenges and changes how students are taught in the following ways:

  • Learning is tailored to a student’s strengths and interests
  • Students learn at their own, optimal pace
  • Students demonstrate mastery of individual skills throughout the process of learning about a subject
  • Teachers will have the tools to meet each student where they are in the learning process
  • Diplomas will truly represent that a graduate is prepared with the knowledge and skills to succeed after graduation

DESIGNED TO SERVE THE NEEDS of students in every community, the implementation of Mastery Education allows for a great deal of local input and customization. Administrators and teachers are afforded flexibility and latitude; current Mastery Education schools and classrooms are taking advantage of such flexibility to innovate effective teaching practices. Schools may change classroom design or school schedules, and introduce new classroom tools and technology to give teachers the support they need to help all students achieve mastery.

A founding cohort of 32 schools across the state are leading the implementation of Mastery Education in their own communities:

  • American Heritage Charter | Blaine County School District: Silver Creek High School
  • Bonneville School District: Rocky Mountain Middle School
  • Coeur d’Alene School District: Venture High School
  • Kuna School District: Initial Point High School, Kuna Middle School, Ross Elementary, Fremont Middle School
  • Lake Pend Oreille School District: Clark Fork Jr/Sr High School
  • Meadows Valley School District
  • Meridian Technical Charter High School
  • Middleton School District: Middleton Academy
  • Moscow School District: All Schools
  • Nampa School District: Columbia High School, Greenhurst Elementary, Union High School
  • North Valley Academy Charter
  • Notus School District
  • Salmon School District: Salmon Jr/Sr High School
  • Three Creek School District
  • Vallivue School District: Rivervue Middle School
  • West Ada School District: Central Academy, Eagle Academy, Meridian Academy
  • Wilder School District

When the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education was convened in 2012, the diverse, 30-member group of stakeholders met for 8 months and ultimately delivered 20 recommendations. At the top of the list was a call for transitioning the state’s public education system to Mastery Education.

The Legislature passed enabling legislation and funding for Mastery Education in 2015 and shortly thereafter 19 districts or schools raised their hands to pioneer Mastery Education in Idaho.

The Idaho Mastery Education Network was created to give teachers the tools and training they needed to successfully implement Mastery Education in their classrooms. The Network meets regularly to share experiences and best practices—such interaction among teachers is a key component of Mastery Education.

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