Student Perspectives on Mastery-Based Learning Practices
in Post-Secondary Education
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Students overwhelmingly want mastery-based learning practices in their computing classrooms.
In recent years, mastery-based learning practices have been increasingly adopted in classrooms to improve student learning experience. These practices involve allowing students to practice concepts, offering flexible deadlines, and providing detailed feedback beyond grades. To understand what students liked about and wanted in their learning experiences, we surveyed 193 students about their experiences with nine mastery-based learning practices in their computing courses.
We found that mastery-based learning practices are common in computing classrooms. For each of the nine mastery-based practices we asked about, over 63% of respondents reported seeing it in at least some of their computing courses.
Based on respondent data, students overwhelmingly want mastery-based learning practices in their computing classrooms. For each mastery-based practice we asked about, over 78% of respondents would like to see it in future computing courses.
Of the mastery-based methods surveyed, ungraded practice with feedback and detailed assignment rubrics were the most desired.
We also found that students are more likely to view computing courses as positive and productive learning experiences when they experience more frequent discussion of learning objectives, more frequent discussion of detailed assignment rubrics, better alignment of learning objectives and grading, or additional opportunities to practice skills and receive feedback before completing graded assignments.
Educators who wish to foster a more positive and productive learning environment should adopt mastery-based practices such as providing students flexible deadlines and prerequisites, allowing multiple submissions of the same assignment with feedback in between, and offering self-paced course options to create positive and productive computing learning environments. By implementing these practices, educators can support students in achieving higher levels of mastery and improve overall outcomes.
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