Ashley Horn

Mastery Paths: the Road Less Traveled

Blog Post created by Ashley Horn on Jun 27, 2017

The first year teacher is full of questions: Is my classroom organized properly? Have I mastered content standards well enough to teach them effectively? How will I contribute to my PLC? In the midst of question whirlwinds, teachers have initiatives sent down the pipeline that must be integrated into the classroom each year; some stick and others do not. My first year teaching, that initiative was Personalize Learning. I was not new to the concept but the application certainly posed some questions.

 

I spent hours working and reworking how a pathway would look in my head and how I could share my vision with my students. My first attempt involved making paper copies of each playlist task. As you can imagine, it did not take long before I realized I was killing my motivation and a small forest of trees. It was then that I attended a Canvas training at my school. The presenter was modeling a new feature called Mastery Pathways. Immediately, I fell in love. Not only were Mastery Paths a way to incorporate Personalized Learning, but it was fast and easy to grade!

 

Today I use Mastery Pathways for various classroom activities. However, my favorite use of this incredible tool is for re-looping a unit of study. The concept of a Mastery Pathway is pretty simple. You create an assessment (Quiz) in Canvas that you want to use as your benchmark. Students complete the quiz to the best of their ability and are given a score that shows their mastery. Then, based on their Quiz score, students are populated into pathways. The upper pathway is designed for students who have mastered the identified target. This pathway will involve an enrichment activity that you create in Canvas Assignments. I like to make this activity an introduction to our next unit of study. The middle pathway is designed for students who did not quite meet mastery. In this pathway you would add an assignment that reviews more abstract concepts these students might have missed. The lower pathway is designed for students who need more intensive review of the identified target. You would assign an overall review of unit concepts to this pathway. 

 

You can adjust the ranges of each pathway group using the points cut-off bars in the Mastery Pathways tab. To add an assignment to a particular pathway, you simply click the "+" button and find the assignment that you created. For my lower pathway, I also include a retest (Quiz) that is to be completed after the review assignment. This way students have a second opportunity to master content before building on it in another unit.

 

Attached are images of Mastery Paths built inside of a Quiz and the sequence of the Pathways as they appear in a Canvas Module. I hope you find success in  your Mastery Path journey!

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