By Anita B. Hoge:
” I could make a pigeon a high achiever by reinforcing it on a proper schedule.”
— B. F. Skinner
What are Common Core Standards? What is Mastery Learning or Competency Based Education also known as Outcome Based Education, OBE? What happens when you combine the standards with the process? There is a school of thought that presumes all children can learn if they are provided with the appropriate learning conditions. Learning for mastery or mastery learning are terms coined by Benjamin Bloom in 1968 and 1971 respectively. Bloom hypothesized that a classroom with a mastery learning focus as opposed to the traditional form of instruction would reduce the achievement gaps between varying groups of students (Guskey 2007). What is true is that biology is biology. Everyone is different & the only way to reduce achievement gaps is to lower standards & eliminate the time it takes for All students to meet the standards. With “conventional instruction”, there is recognition of individual differences & intelligence.
The individualized computerized concept of mastery learning “uses conditioning,” (reward & punishment) manipulating students to master the below standard, standards in this unnatural process. Only the standards will be taught & tested. Traditional education is opportunity, mastery learning is a controlled environment. Mastery learning has little to do with specific content, but rather is a description of the process of mastering particular learning objectives. This approach is based on Benjamin Bloom’s Mastery for Learning model, with refinements made by Block. Mastery learning may be implemented as teacher-paced group instruction, one-to-one tutoring, or self-paced learning with programmed materials using direct teacher instruction or computerized models. It requires well-defined learning objectives organized into smaller, sequentially organized units, otherwise known lately as Common Core Standards. Individualized, computerized instruction is a perfect partner used with mastery learning. The computer is a perfect programmed teacher to reach a perfect controlled goal.
The concept of mastery learning can be attributed to the behaviorism principles of Skinner’s operant conditioning.
According to operant conditioning theory, learning occurs when an association is formed between a stimulus and response (Skinner, 1984). In line with the behavior theory, mastery learning focuses on overt behaviors that can be observed and measured (Baum, 2005). The material that will be taught to mastery is broken down into small discrete lessons that follow a logical progression. In order to demonstrate mastery over each lesson, students must be able to show evidence of learning the material before moving to the next lesson (Anderson, 2000). Just think of constant reinforcements like bells, pop-ups, & errors made by students on computers. This is operant conditioning.
The Race to the Top model does away with the knowledge-based model, seat time, the calendar year, grade groupings, & competition. A personalized, student education plan or career pathway uses mastery learning & is the system to be taught for the Common Core Standards. The reason Obama unlocked data under FERPA, Family Education Rights & Privacy Act, is to develop & research these programs & monitor individuals for compliance toward those standards.
A computerized, personalized student plan or career pathway is called a ‘learning genome.’ The child’s learning style, background, & dispositions will be monitored & assessed through the entire process. The “process” that is used to teach the dumbed down Common Core Standards is Mastery Learning. Operant conditioning takes away the normal process of thinking so that the transfer of knowledge in normal human thinking activity is stunned. This is a dumbing down technique purposely being used on American children. Mastery Learning, Master Teachers, Common Core Standards, NAEP, National Assessment of Educational Progress, & data-trafficking is the foundation for a national curriculum, national testing, national teacher certification, & a national data bank to monitor & force compliance. This is the footprint of nationalizing & redesigning education in America.
This is what is being called accountability toward a New World Order School.
The graph & photos pictured on this page were taken from “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century,” February, 2013, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology.
This entire excerpt that follows is Kentucky’s ‘Race to the Top’ Model State Using Mastery Learning called STEAM Academy in Fayette County, Kentucky
Fayette County Public Schools and the University of Kentucky imagine a 21st-century school that is flexible and adaptable, technology rich, responsive to student and teacher needs, and recognizes and extends learning beyond the traditional school day and classroom. The STEAM Academy, an urban public school opening in fall 2013, will incorporate mastery learning, personalized instruction, internships, and dual/college credit opportunities. The goal: to ensure that students will graduate college and career ready, and experienced. Low-income, first-generation college, and traditionally underserved students will have enrollment preference.
The STEAM Academy will use an innovative, hybrid instructional program based in student‐paced, mastery- and problem‐based experiential learning. Technology will help deliver content and real-time assessment to provide students with greater autonomy, help instructors better diagnose and address each student’s needs, and engage parents more effectively.
Student voice and student agency are central to the school model. Students will take ownership of their learning by choosing their instructional delivery, schedule, and learning style and engaging in real-world problem-solving projects that interest them. At the classroom level students will work to mastery with time as a variable. Some students may move thorough the coursework in two years and matriculate into classes at the University of Kentucky while others will need four years to be ready for college or career. Demonstration of mastery will be determined by summative assessments and evidence collected in an e-portfolio.
Upon entering the school, students will be assigned an adviser who will remain with the student until graduation. Advisory groups will meet bi‐weekly throughout the year to provide guidance in college and career readiness skills, personal goal setting and monitoring, and problem identification and solution finding.
The district is taking advantage of an environment ripe for innovation. Innovation waivers provide unprecedented flexibility in seat time, enabling a true competency-based approach. The University of Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab (part of CCSSO’s Council of Chief State School Officers, Partnership for Next Generation Learning) is helping create the innovative infrastructure and instructional model. In addition, teachers will work with Innovation Lab faculty members and other UK faculty who will provide training across a range of instructional innovations including project‐based learning, performance assessment, and technology integration. Preparation of these teachers will also include a mentoring component with master teachers, teacher leaders, and content specialists with Fayette County Schools. Ultimately, the STEAM Academy will serve as an incubator where pre-service and master teachers gain experience in a mastery-based blended learning environment, and a lab – where UK faculty can research and pilot new innovations.” Link
Kohlberg on Skinnerian Techniques
“Skinner may dispense with ideas of freedom & dignity to arrive at a theory valid for explaining studies of reward in animals & children. A theory that ignores freedom & dignity in the learning process leads to the practice of constructing “teacher proof” materials. It also leads to kits designed to be “student proof,” that is, to modify the student’s behavior without his understanding or assent to the theory and methods applied to him.” Lawrence Kohlberg in the Foreword to “Promoting Moral Growth from Piaget to Kohlberg,” Hershey, Paolitto, Reimer 1979, about Skinnarian techniques.
Standards Based Basketball-Otherwise known as doing away with competition.
STANDARD: All players will make 10 baskets at the game tonight & feel good about it.
(The basket is lowered 6′)
All players did make all 10 baskets at the game last night & both teams won.
All players received mastery of the goal. They are all treated to candy bars. They are rock stars.
Historical documentation on Mastery Learning, “Deliberate Dumbing Down of America,” Charlotte Iserbyt
Richard I. Evans, 1968, “B.F. Skinner: The Man and His Ideas.” Skinner, “I could make a pigeon a high achiever by reinforcing it on a proper schedule.” (p. 10)
“Our Children: The Drones,” Ann Herzer
Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century,” February, 2013, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf
Race to the Top model presentation: http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/46399963.ppt
© Copyright by Anita Hoge, 2013. All rights reserved.