Defining Mastery

What type of work genuinely merits an A grade? The UAF grading system describes an A grade as appropriate for work that “indicates a thorough mastery of course content and outstanding performance in completion of course requirements.”

All Teacher PanelsOne of your many challenges as an instructor is to determine what constitutes “mastery” of the course material, as well as assessing, over and over again, if students are demonstrating that mastery via the work you’ve assigned.

Students accustomed to receiving an A for meeting basic course expectations may be surprised when held to the standards of mastery.

All Donkey panelsThe UAF grading system describes a grade of C as appropriate for work that “indicates a satisfactory level of acquired knowledge and performance in completion of course requirements.”  Consider how your students may understand the  difference between “satisfactory” and “masterful.”

If you’re reviewing the value of an A in your course, think about the following elements:

What does “mastery” of your course content look like?

Are you creating assignments that allow students to demonstrate their mastery/adequacy in more than one way? (Some students may be masterful essay writers rather than truly exceptional learners of your course material.)

How could an adequate student work to excel in your course?

How are you explaining your grading standards to students?

For more information on assessment and assignment building, check out UAF eLearning’s  iTeachU resources:

Outcomes Evidence

Assessment Mapping

UAF Grading System

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