Killer App: MasteryConnect Reinvents the Report Card

The collision of the old age-cohort time-bound system and standards-based education happens in the gradebook. In the old world, subjects are taught, some kids get it and some don’t–a letter grade connotes a mysterious mixture of learning, participation and extra credit. In a standards-based system, the simple question is “What have students learned?”
MasteryConnect just made it easier for students to show what they know. MasteryConnect’s “Mastery Tracker” uses simple visualizations to summarize what students know subject by subject.
On standards-based grading, MasteryConnect CEO Mick Hewitt has been asking, “How do we get parents to care about this?”  Mick believes the answer lies in showing parents a visually appealing report card with access to details of what students are not understanding relative to the state or Common Core standards.  If a student has mastered 70% of grade level standards in math, a parent can drill down to the sub-skill level to see topics that have been a challenge.
We tried to introduce a standards-based report card more than 15 years ago when I was a school administrator but it was 26 pages long–terribly time consuming for teachers and confusing for parents.  MasteryConnect has simplified the look while still giving schools that ability to customize.
MasteryConnect is now being used by teachers in more than half of American school districts in over 32,000 schools. Teachers use MasteryConnect to share standards-aligned formative assessments and resources, but it’s not just a big item bank.  The platform is open to any form of assessment from almost any vendor, and MasteryConnect currently has content partnerships with folks like NWEA and Pearson. A curriculum mapping feature makes it easy for schools and districts to organize standards into units and electronically deliver curriculum, materials, and interim assessments to all teachers in a district electronically.  MasteryConnect also integrates with all leading student information systems, and has a friendly API for data export.
In addition to time-based report cards, it’s easy for parents and teachers to login to the MasteryConnect parent portal to get real-time data about what their student is learning, and all of the reports can be printed out for folks wedded to paper.
One thing everyone will need to get used to is that standards-based reporting is less subjective than letter grades–just the facts about learning with no class favorites, no extra credit, just a detailed academic progress report.
What about attendance and participation?  It’s easy for schools to customize the new report card at a school or district level.

What’s Next? MasteryConnect has already made it easy for teachers to learn about Common Core and science standards with a must see app.  The made it easy for teachers to pin Common Core resources.  MasteryConnect Powers PLC Connected Educators.
It’s easy to imagine the Mastery Tracker queuing personalize playlists making it easier for parents, teachers to find the right learning resources for individual students. At some point students may be able to pin examples of their best work to standards. As their track record suggests, MasteryConnect listens to teachers and delivers innovative new features on a regular basis.
Mastery Connect is a Learn Capitol Portfolio Company where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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