Shifting to Mastery and SBG
A new school year is upon us and it is important to take the time to rethink our grading systems. Many school districts are adopting new grading practices as we realize our traditional percentage-based grading systems were not actually doing a good job of communicating student learning. The Mastery Collaborative in New York City is just one example of how educators are shifting to mastery grading to focus more on learning goals instead of compliance. In 2010, a state-wide standards based grading initiative began shifting teachers in Kentucky to find an effective way to measure learning by standard. We have all heard the buzz surrounding mastery and standards-based grading and slowly we are all trying to find our way to this more reliable and accurate way to communicate student learning.
Cari Williams is a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for the Tustin Unified School District in Southern California. She holds a MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Cal State Fullerton and works on the side as a consultant writing science and STEAM curriculum and training teachers. After working for 12 years in the classroom as a middle school science and STEAM teacher, she transitioned into the role of Digital Learning Coach in 2013. In this role, Cari helped teachers innovate curriculum and shift pedagogies through the integration of educational technologies. Her most current work as a TOSA is focused on engineering design in robotics, computer science, and Makerspaces. She is an official VEX Robotics event partner hosting tournaments for teams from around Southern California as well as leading 28 robotics programs servicing over 100 teams in the Tustin Unified School District. Although her expertise has taken her deep into STEAM education, she remains passionate and engaged in helping teachers transition to the NGSS through participating as a Science Peer Review Panelist for Achieve and as a Professional Learning Facilitator for NSTA.