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Third and Fourth Grade Mastery-Based Grading

Mastery-based grading to support student progress monitoring


Anticipating gaps in standards mastery due to the shift to remote learning, teachers at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, part of Chicago Public Schools, wanted a way to more clearly identify these gaps to help them plan for personalized and differentiated instruction. Additionally, they wanted to help students more easily determine and track their mastery of different standards to encourage ownership of their learning. In response to this challenge, the third and fourth grade teams moved to mastery-based grading in ELA and math.


To help pilot this process, leadership and the Department of Personalized Learning provided teachers with written guidance that outlined the revised grading policy to support mastery-based grading. The new grading policy revised grading weights and had 95% of a final grade based upon grade-level standards mastery and five percent of a final grade determined by participation, which included homework and class participation. To help determine letter grades, teachers tracked the number of standards students mastered and benchmarked them to the number of standards the teacher has taught to full mastery.

To aid in the assessment of the mastery of ELA and math standards, teachers were provided with a variety of assessments, including interim and benchmark assessments and re-quizzes to allow students who did not master a standard on the first try to try again. Students were also encouraged to use individual mastery trackers that they updated every time a new standard was assessed. Guided by teacher feedback and support, these trackers help both students and parents to better understand where students are.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.

Strategy Resources

Elementary School Mastery-Based Grading Policy

Mt. Vernon Elementary School’s mastery-based grading policy, which outlines its grading weights, how to translate... Learn More

4th Grade Math Mastery-Based Assessments

A folder containing a variety of Common Core-aligned, mastery-based math assessments for 4th grade. Learn More

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ELA and Math Common Core Standards Mastery Trackers

Student-facing Common Core-aligned ELA and math mastery trackers. Learn More

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