Mastery Portfolio Takes the Guesswork Out of Standards-based Grading
The education system in the United States is structured around grades. For better or worse, students are sorted and stacked, ranked and reviewed, labeled and logged. Assessments are based on GPA. However, research suggests that standards-based grading can be a better approach. Educators, parents, and students are starting to agree.
Mastery Portfolio is a Columbus-based educational consulting and technology company founded by educators to provide a platform and resources to help schools that want to shift away from traditional assessment practices to an assessment system that tracks learning, not just grades.
“When schools realize that the way they are doing grading and assessment isn’t motivating students toward the outcomes they feel those students are capable of achieving, the whole conversation shifts,” CEO Constance Borro said. “We help schools redesign how they do grading and assessment.”
The More Aware Students Are of Their Strengths and Challenges, the Better They Can Learn
Standards-based grading is a system that assesses students by aligning curriculum to a body of standards. Each standard is assessed individually. The purpose is to communicate more specific information about what students know and what they need to learn to fully master a certain skill.
The leadership team at Mastery Portfolio has between them nearly 40 years of teaching experience in both adolescent and adult education. As educational consultants, they have collectively developed best practices in standard-based assessment.
“We founded this company two-and-a-half years ago,” Borro said, “but we have been doing this work for a long time. We have all been through the education system. We share the idea that if we shift the paradigm, we can serve kids much better.”
The MasteryBook is standards-based software, designed and produced by CEO Borro and her partners as the perfect tool to create a system to implement standards-based grading in a school’s individual environment. The platform helps teachers structure instruction that helps students think about learning differently and also to learn how to set standards aligned with skills goals. Instead of focusing on GPAs and test scores, the conversation between teachers and students can become –how to show mastery of a skill, or if not there, how to show growth.
The process begins with an audit of a district or school’s current practices. “Right now our conversations are with district leaders and school principals,” Borro said. “We are targeting schools and districts that have records for change-making, finding schools that are ready to change grading and assessment practices.”
Mastery Portfolio is already implemented in schools across five states, validating the platform and services, and continuing to build out software features to support best practices. Mastery Portfolio is in operation at a variety of schools right here in Ohio—including a public, independent, and charter school, with more contracts in process for the upcoming academic year.