Mastery Myths: Myths about Mastery Based Learning Debunked

Mastery-based learning is an approach to education being adopted currently by numerous institutes and individuals the world over. For those of you still unfamiliar with the term, mastery-based learning is an approach to education where emphasis is laid not on the duration of study but on the ability of an individual student to successfully complete comprehend certain concepts. Though there are no doubts about the benefits of mastery-based learning, there is an existing body of traditionalists who are not in favour of this approach to study. Such individuals favour the more, dare we say archaic methods and approaches to education and approaches such as mastery-based learning tend to go against some of the principles in their methods.

Myths about the Method

Discourse for and against academic levels have sparked numerous arguments, some of which end up being circulated without context by non-academic folk and end up becoming myths. The problem with myths is that while they are largely inaccurate, they still spread.

Debunking Mastery Myths

We sat down with a few experts and professionals who work in education, some following and implementing traditional methods in their work and others using methods like mastery-based learning. We managed in the process, to dispel 3 myths associated with mastery-based learning that we figured we’d share with you. Here they are!

Myth # 1: It Is Tricky By Way Of Application.

Many harbour the notion that mastery-based learning is not easy to apply even though it might be attractive in theory. This idea however springs from the early origins of mastery-based learning back in the 1920s. Teachers then were not as well equipped as they are now and the trouble that arose the majority of the time was the difficulty they would have tracking all their students. Back then and for decades later, the education system was quite rigid, the preferred approach being one that kept everyone ‘in line’, regardless of skill. Further, the inclination was towards teacher or admin centred institutes and not the other way around. None of these limiting factors are very relevant today. We have the technology and means to allow students the space and support to pace themselves. Applying mastery-based learning methodology is in fact, quite simple.

Myth # 2: It Complicates The Grading Process.

Here is another example of what many rigid thinking academic individuals might argue. The argument is that in larger classes, the detailed grading and reporting process is too much of an ask from the teaching faculty. It would be too time consuming to be practical. At a private institute that follows the method however, this problem does not exist. The institute is geared from the get go to give students additional and individual attention and support. The detailed grading process is in fact a brilliant aid when it comes to identifying areas of academic improvement.

Myth # 3: It’s Not Challenging Enough For The Student.

This notion springs from the misconception that because mastery-based learning allows students a degree of flexibility with regard to time, it does not put adequate pressure on the student. This is with regard to the ability to again stay in line with the majority of the student body. The reason we say this is a misconception is because mastery-based learning is by no means less challenging. It simply allows those who have a quicker pace of learning to progress to the next level. This is actually quite the opposite of what happens in conventional education systems where faster learners sometimes lose interest waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.


There you have it folks. Three misleading myths about mastery-based learning clarified and displaced. Mastery-based learning is about recognizing the student’s personal strengths and weaknesses and identifying ways to help them excel at whatever they may be doing. Those looking for an institute that follows the mastery-based learning approach and offers courses such as mathematics and science as well as homeschooling support in Dubai should get in touch with us! Give us a shout or check out the courses we offer!