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What is self-paced Mastery?


Khan Academy’s mission is to offer a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. In order to move toward this mission, one of the things that the Khan Academy team provides is a system to track students’ learning progress in all courses, all devices, and in many languages. We call this the Mastery System. 

Some of the things we have to offer are teacher tools, reports, and supports that help teachers incorporate student-paced mastery learning into their classrooms. Teachers receive detailed data about each student’s performance when they complete practice. Teachers can also help by assigning content to their students as a part of their lessons.

Benefits of Khan Academy’s student-paced practice in the classroom:

Teachers can often see that there is no one exercise that all, or most, students need to work on at the same time, and mastery learning enables each student to work on an exercise, lesson, or assignment that best fits their individual needs. 

The Student Experience 

Course Mastery

Screenshot 2023-08-20 at 23-14-30 4th grade Math Khan Academy (course mastery).png

Courses that have Mastery enabled show:

  1. The percentage of the course that your student has mastered.
  2. The overall fraction of mastery points for that course that your student has achieved.

Courses will also have a Course Challenge card at the bottom where students can take an assessment that covers a sampling of skills from the entire course.

Screenshot 2023-08-21 at 00-22-02 High School Statistics Khan Academy.png

Screenshot 2023-08-21 at 00-23-14 Course challenge 4th grade Khan Academy.png

Unit Mastery

Screenshot 2023-08-21 at 00-44-52 Place value 4th grade Math Khan Academy (Unit Mastery).png

The Unit page also has several elements, which are labeled in the image above:

  1. The total Mastery Points available in this unit (for example, 1900 points on this unit—100 for each skill in the unit)
  2. Under Practice, the student can also see their progress from Familiar to Proficient to Mastered for each skill.

Practicing to Level Up in Skills and Mastery

Before each activity (exercise, quiz, unit test, or course challenge), students will see a card that quickly shares information about how many questions there will be. If they're working on a quiz, unit test, or course challenge, they'll also see roughly how long it took for other students to answer them.

Screenshot 2023-08-21 at 00-25-22 Place value Unit test Place value Khan Academy.png

They’ll also see a card after they’ve finished an exercise, quiz, unit test, or course challenge. On the left, they’ll be able to quickly see how many skills they’ve leveled up or down on, as well as how many skills remained at the same level. On the right, they can find a detailed description of each skill level change.

This card may also recommend lessons for students to take based on their performance in the questions.

Screenshot 2023-08-21 at 00-32-54 Addition subtraction and estimation Unit test Khan Academy.png

Each skill is worth a total of 100 Mastery Points. As students practice skills and answer questions in quizzes, unit tests, and course challenges, their level for that skill will go up (or down, if they miss any questions in the course). 

Moving to Familiar will earn them 50 of the 100 points. Leveling up to Proficient will get them to 80 points. Becoming Mastered in a skill allows them to collect the total 100 available Mastery Points.

General Movement

In general, students can move up one level from Not Started or Attempted to Familiar by scoring between 70% and 85% on an exercise, or by answering all of the questions about the skill right on a quiz, test, or challenge. 

To get to Proficient, students must start at Familiar and get all of the questions about a skill right in an exercise, quiz, test, or challenge. To get to Mastered, students must begin at Proficient and get all of the questions about the skill right on a Unit Test or Course Challenge.

Special Case Movements

There are also special instances where students may be promoted or demoted two levels. If students score 100% on an exercise, quiz, test, or challenge the first time that they attempt a skill, they can be moved up two levels to Proficient

They can also be moved two levels from Attempted (see below) to Proficient in a skill if they achieve a perfect score on an exercise. Conversely, students who have achieved mastery of a skill can be demoted two levels to Familiar if they score lower than 70% on an exercise.

New State: Attempted

Another change with the new mastery system is the Attempted level. This level indicates that students may be struggling with a skill. Students may fall into this category if their first attempt at a skill on an exercise, quiz, test, or challenge is lower than 70%, or if they had previously made it to the Familiar level, but then scored lower than 70% on an exercise or missed all of the questions about that skill on a quiz, test, or challenge.Mastery_skill_levels.png

Mastery is not easily earned, and that’s intentional. But putting in the work to achieve it will prove they’ve earned (and learned!) it. We hope your students in the Mastery system will enjoy leveling up their skills and reaching 100% Course and Unit Mastery.