Classroom Strategies

Tracking Data in Mastery-Based Grading

I recently blogged about how I’ve implemented Mastery-Based Grading in my 7th grade science classroom. There have been a lot of questions and words of encouragement, and I’m loving this discussions.

All that has led me to write a few follow-up posts. This one is more of the nitty-gritty how-to’s that have worked for me. I hope I can help some of you keep better track of your students’ grades for Mastery-Based Grading!

I use Google Classroom + Jupiter Grades (fairly traditional gradebook) + this spreadsheet to keep track of my students’ progress and grades. I know that’s a triplicate of each grade, but each place serves its purpose within the resources available at my school. So, I don’t mind a couple seconds of extra work if it benefits my students.

In this post, I’ll break down how each is used in my workflow.

Google Classroom

All Mastery Tasks are posted in a Google Classroom that all 3 of my classes are enrolled in. It’s personal preference–for me, it makes it a bit faster to grade all my students at once, rather than separate classes. As I said in my original Mastery-Based Grading post, I also have separate Classroom for each class, where I post announcements and classwork (all ungraded).

Mastery Tasks class on Google Classroom

Each assignment is assigned a topic based on unit, and I try to put in as much of the instructions into the assignment as possible–this helps absent students or students doing their revisions.

On this particular assignment, I also attached sentence frames (thanks for making them, Amy!) after the original assignment. During class, we passed out sentence frames to students who needed the writing scaffold. I attached them after the first submissions for students who earned an In Progress grade, and needed to revise and resubmit.

Mastery Task assignment on Google Classroom.

I change the point value on each assignment to be out of 1. I provide feedback on the assignment in private comments and/or within the assignment (if in Docs or Slides), then enter the corresponding numerical value. A 1 = Mastery (M), a 0 = In Progress (IP) — this is a binary on/off signal, not a point value.

After I’ve graded an assignment, I return it to the students. If they earn Mastery, they don’t need to do anything. If they earn In Progress, they need to read my comments, revise, and resubmit. Sometimes this takes many cycles of feedback before a student earns Mastery!

Jupiter Grades

Jupiter Grades is an online gradebook that our district pays for, and all teachers at my school use. (This is a loaded sentence. We have Infinite Campus for grade reporting, but I find the gradebook difficult to navigate. I only use it to post progress & final grades. We also have Canvas as an LMS, which has its own gradebook. So many options…)

I post M and IP grades in Jupiter because this is where students and parents check their grades.

Google Sheet

Here’s where my nerd shines through. I have a massive “Mastery Student Data” spreadsheet where I track my students Mastery and In Progress. Generally students don’t see this spreadsheet, unless I call them up to show them their row.

Screenshot of my example “Mastery Student Data” spreadsheet.

I love the quick visual of how a class is doing, who is missing multiple assignments, and the total number of masteries per class. All this gives me quick data on which students need more help and attention, and which students are ready to move on.

It’s super easy to customize data for what I need to know about my students. For example, I can create additional columns where I add student tags, such as EL or IEP or GATE. Then, I can use filters to check on how subgroups are doing. Or, I can create graphs for how a specific class is doing on an assignment, unit, or overall–then, I can copy & paste this into our daily Slides for some whole-class data analysis.

My Sheet also calculates students’ current grade based on how many Mastery (green) vs. In Progress (yellow) + missing (gray).

All it took was a little conditional formatting and a lot of formula-ing to make this magic happen.

As much as grading is a tedious and sometimes frustrating process (like those assignments when only 8/86 students earned Mastery…yeah, that has happened…last week!), looking at this nerdy spreadsheet brightens my day.

How do you keep track of mastery data in your classroom?

PS. Stay tuned! Next week’s blog post will talk about creating and implementing Mastery Tasks, and feature examples!

5 thoughts on “Tracking Data in Mastery-Based Grading”

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Mari. The idea of mastery based grading makes sense, but sounds a little sccary to me. You make it look doable! I’m curious – what does the 1 – 4 grade mean? If a student ends the year with a 1, do they pass? Do you have to turn these into traditional A,B,C grades in your school? I love the fact that students can redo assignments until they get to mastery. Would love to visit your classroom!


    1. The 1-4 corresponds to a 4 point rubric, which is how most of our elementary schools grade. We have to turn in A-F grades, so we equate it to 4/A, 3/B, 2/C, 1/F. Our science department doesn’t give Ds, mainly because it’s still a “passing” grade but doesn’t count for college credit, and Ds seemed to reward laziness rather than effort. After I eliminated Ds, I had far fewer Fs too!


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