How We Measure Mastery

Individualized portfolios for individualized growth.

Persisting to Mastery

At most schools, the real F word is failure. That’s not how we see it. We’re more like Thomas Edison, who famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

We believe that to learn deeply and enduringly, we need to persist past the moments when things don’t go as planned. In fact, we think those are actually some of the best bits of learning because that’s when we work with others to figure out what went wrong, how we can adjust, and where to go next.

We use words like iterate and reflect and generate, and we have time-tested and finely-tuned methods to help you persist to mastery.

We keep our focus where it belongs: on persistence to mastery through the valuable process of feedback, reflection, and iteration.

Not only does this approach make school more productive and useful, it also makes school very much like the real world. When something goes awry in college or in a professional environment, you’ll know how to use feedback constructively, refine, and improve – without resorting to any F words.

We Don't Do Grades

The Mastery School of Hawken is built entirely around the concept of Mastery—which boils down to the simple idea that learning should be deep, enduring, creative, and transferable. You’ll grow as you build a record that accurately captures the best of what you’ve produced and achieved.

Instead of grades, we use Mastery Credits that you earn through presenting evidence that demonstrates your skills, knowledge, and abilities — or what you really know and are able to do. Mastery Credits allow you to show what you can do in ways that grades simply cannot.

Mastery Credit Areas

The Mastery Credits you’ll earn fit under six broad categories that we call Mastery Credit Areas. You’ll notice that they describe skills and mindsets that you’ll need in order to master complex content and abilities:
  • Citizenship
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creative Problem-Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Self-Directed Learning
How do you generate evidence to earn credits in these Mastery Credit areas?

That’s where the program elements come in.

There are two types of Mastery Credits

Within each of these six Mastery Credit Areas, you’ll find a variety of Credits. There are two kinds:

Foundational Credits are the floor. Everyone must earn the baseline credits, which include mastery in skills such as Systems Thinking, Communication in an Additional Language, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Advanced Credits are the wide open sky. They allow you to demonstrate the depth of your skills in the areas that matter the most to you and to show off your unique profile of interests and strengths.

Why Mastery Credits?

Not everyone learns the same things at the same time and rate. Mastery Credits put you in charge by allowing you to decide when the time is right to present your best work in a credit area. You may master some skills quickly and take more time with others. All the while, your collection of curated evidence is growing as you continue to practice skills in Macros and Micros.

As your portfolio grows, these credits capture your knowledge, skills, and abilities in an entirely new way — via a graphic and interactive digital transcript.

With the Mastery Transcript, you’ll have a digital showcase of your demonstrated abilities. Think of it as a deep portfolio of your work, complete with a homepage that offers a high level overview of your achievements that college admission officers can get their head around in just a few minutes.

Want to learn more about the transcript?

We'd love to connect.

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