Mastery Connect: A journey in education | NevadaAppeal.com

Mastery Connect: A journey in education

Ruthlee Caloiaro

As the education world embarks on the Common Core standards journey, all educators are at a crossroad of implementing new standards and re-designing student assessments.

Educators face the challenge of implementing new standards, assessing students learning, and using this information to drive their educational decisions. Mastery Connect is a data collection tool being used at Mark Twain and other schools in our district to track student progress.

Mastery Connect is a web-based system that has all of the Common Core standards at your fingertips. Mastery Connect allows teachers to scan paper-and-pencil quizzes, then grade and store results within a digital system for same-day and future reference. Its technology also lets teachers create, share and use quizzes and other teacher produced materials, so other teachers don't have to spend additional time or money designing and procuring new exercises that have already proven effective. So how exactly does Mastery Connect work?

Suppose you're a fifth-grade teacher and you've got 30 students in your class. Half of those students may be missing crucial skills in geometry. In addition, a handful of others participated in an accelerated math program and are ready for algebra. And then there are a few others who have learning disabilities and need more one-on-one time to progress.

Ideally, the teacher would have the time to sit down with each student and craft a teaching plan specific to his or her needs and goals. Here is where Mastery Connect really shines. The technology expedites the work of personalizing education, so instead of focusing on managing a class of 30 students, teachers easily identify individual students who are having trouble with certain concepts in actionable detail. Teachers can target students for more individualized attention or extra practice at home with parents, or more interaction with the teachers themselves. By the time an assessment arrives, teachers and students have a more precise sense of how ready a student is to move on to the next unit or concept.

Using Mastery Connect, teachers are able to collaborate with peers and exchange lesson plans, assessments and classroom lessons. Mastery Connect's assessment tools provide multiple ways to give formative and benchmark/interim assessments, and makes grading automatic and fast. This allows the teacher to differentiate their instruction and place students according to their level of mastery. Mastery Connect also allows teachers to easily compare and collaborate around data that empowers their grade-level team conversations. Finally, Mastery Connect allows for a means of parent communication. Parents can easily view the standards being assessed as well as the student mastery and progress of each standard.

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From one classroom, to one school, to one district, Carson City School District has embraced Mastery Connect as an educational tool for assessment and communication. As a district we are providing training for our administrators, teachers and staff, so they can empower our students to take control over their own learning, making our students leaders in their educational journey.

Ruthlee Caloiaro is principal of Mark Twain Elementary School. She can be reached at rcaloiaro@carson.k12.nv.us or 775-283-1000.

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