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Diagnosis of Successful Schooling
Written by Carolyn L. Ramos   
Wednesday, 04 January 2012

Education experts say that there are exciting times for the field of instructional system. Society in general complains that our school systems are not meeting current needs. Thus the DEPED has been restructured by separating basic from higher education. Restructuring and focusing more attention on basic education is expected to improve student performance particularly in English, Science and Mathematics. In keeping with the country’s inflation rate and low salary or teachers, the government allotted a lion's share in the annual budget of DEPED to meet their salary increase and allowance. While the amount is still below the poverty line for teachers, there are teachers who keep on trying innovative strategies and there are dynamic administrators who give them moral support.

Just what is mastery learning? According to John Caroll, all children will learn given the following conditions: a dedicated teacher, adequate and appropriate instructional materials, tests, enough time, administrative and parental support, and an environment conducive to learning. David Jacobsen contends that mastery is an instructional strategy that allows students to progress at their own pace through a unit of study. Formative tests are used to provide feedback about the learning progress. When students pass the tests they are allowed to continue. When they don’t pass, they are moved to alternate learning activities. Final exams are used to document final mastery of the content.

Carol Cummings believes that mastery learning is the most logical place to begin if we are going to assure children of success experiences. Many philosophy suggests that given enough time and proper learning conditions, all children can learn the objectives we set out to teach them.

A very crucial factor lies in task analysis. Oftentimes we overlook the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes in our desire to cover so much topics. In each subject we should identify the core of the top priorities and really teach the point of mastery before we move on to the peripherals on enrichment activities.

The time element is another very crucial component. If students are normally distributed by ability or aptitude and are provided appropriate instruction tailored to their characteristics, the majority should achieve mastery of the subject and learning should be dramatically improved. If a student does not spend sufficient time to learn a task, he or she will not master it.

Research findings in some schools using mastery learning revealed that although slower students require a longer period of time to learn the same materials, they can succeed if their initial knowledge is correctly diagnosed. And if they are taught with appropriate methods and materials in a sequential manner beginning at their initial competency level.

Mastery instruction is a challenging strategy because the teacher must continually monitor each student, provide a variety of instructional materials and activities, determine what skills each student has mastered and give immediate feedbacks.

The task in mastery learning are truly challenging, but the rewards are great in terms of success and joy.


Carolyn L. Ramos
Bagac Elementary School
Bagac. Bataan

 
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