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"Innovate: A way of thinking that leads to something new and better."

- George Couros, “The Innovators Mindset”

Innovation does not mean transforming the role of a teacher! It means creating a culture that inspires and empowers teachers to design and provide optimal learning experiences for their students.

This page offers clarity and resources to the enduring concept of mastery-based education, including:

For additional information, click the appropriate header below to open a dropdown.

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Student Driven Learning (SDL) practices elevate the instruction, assessment and learning culture of an educational system, ultimately leading to an environment where learners progress “based upon student demonstration of mastery of competencies and content, not seat time or the age or grade level of the student.”

  • Meeting students where they are with what they need
  • Emphasis on Competencies and Content Standards
  • Precise and Responsive Instruction
  • Increased Student Transparency and Communication
  • Greater Student Choice and Autonomy
  • Increased Student Collaboration
  • Open Ended and Project Based Opportunities
  • Failure and Challenges Recognized as Part of the Learning Process
  • Assess When Ready
  • Regular & Routine Formative Assessment
  • Assessment and Feedback for Learning, Not Judgment
  • Multiple Opportunities and Methods to Demonstrate Mastery
  • Self-Assessment Opportunities
  • Performance Based Assessments & Practices
Learning Culture
  • Growth Prioritized & Tracked
  • Caring Relationships w/ Community & Adults
  • Learning Pathways
  • Shared Mission & Vision
  • Learning Beyond School
  • Flexible Use of Time & Space

Stay Tuned! Each of these practices will soon have a 1-page guide that:

  • Shares a one sentence summary of the SDL practice
  • Gives the Hattie effect size
  • Highlights additional research
  • Provides a teacher and student perspective
  • Describes effective implementation strategies

Learn more about Free FUN SIZED PD that supports these best practices in the dropdown below.

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Simple definitions that provide context for mastery:

Little “m” mASTERY: The natural process of performing or demonstrating to a level that allows progression to the next step in a learning sequence.

  • Examples: learning to walk, read, ride a bike, eating solid foods, etc.

BIG “M” Mastery: In Idaho, mastery means an educational system is using Student Driven Learning practices to develop an environment where student progression is “based on student demonstration of mastery of competencies and content, not seat time or the age or grade level of the student.” (§133-1632).

  • Each educational system will look different, be at different stages of progress and focusing on different student driven learning practices.

Little “a” aSSESSMENT: The natural and constant process of evaluating a situation, performance, understanding or knowledge based on evidence and relative to a standard.

  • Examples: looking at the weather to help determine appropriate clothing, understanding the temperature of food before you take a bite, recognizing the speed of a car when deciding to cross the street, etc.

Big “A” Assessment in Education:

  • Formative: ongoing, in-action, during “practice”, natural, typically utilized to help identify the direction of the next learning progression.
  • Summative: formal evaluation of a collection of skills or knowledge typically administered at the end of a prescribed time period.
  • Standardized: Point-in-time testing where the environmental conditions, the test itself, and evaluation are generally the same.

Time is the driving force for student progress in most traditional educational settings. Example: time for lunch, reading time, math time, periods, quarter, end of a unit, etc.

6X6 Keynote 3 flyer featuring Tina Boogren

Every six weeks a different nationally recognized expert will share their perspective about Student Driven Learning practices. Participants will receive a guidebook to record notes during the presentations, along with guiding questions to consider for your circumstance

  • FREE credit for participating in all 6 presentations!
  • Participate as a team or individually!
  • Presenters will be available 4-weeks later for specific questions!
  • Presentations will be recorded to watch up to 30 days after scheduled date and be available through a Canvas course.
Keynote Series Information - Register Now!
Date Speaker Title (Subject to Change) Q&A Follow-up
9/20/2022 Kara Vandas (The Core Collaborative, Corwin) Clarity for Learning 10/11/2022
11/01/2022 Jonathan Vander Els (Solution Tree) Conditions for Student-driven Learning 11/22/2022
12/13/2022 Tina Boogren (Marzano Resources) Instructional Practices and Teacher Success 01/10/2023
01/24/2023 Cindy Moss (DefinedLearning) Role of Project Based Learning in Student Success 02/14/2023
03/07/2023 Joey Lee (LiFT Learning) Utilizing Learner Outcomes 03/28/2023
04/18/2023 Virgel Hammonds (KnowledgeWorks) Redesigning Learning Structures 05/09/2023
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  • Many FREE courses under development this summer and more developed this upcoming year!
  • Aligned to the Danielson Framework
  • Precise and practical, 4-6 hours, no busy work!
  • “Reach out to a friend” responsive insight!
  • Actionable feedback on the project in each course
  • Finish 3 courses earn a free credit!
More Information
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System-wide Change

For schools, multiple school partnerships or districts seeking large scale system-wide shifts towards student driven learning practices. How could your system improve and what partnerships can happen to guide your journey? Take a year to reflect on your needs through the 6x6 Keynote series, meet experts and determine goals and partnerships to guide your journey. Potentially the funding would extend over two years, pending legislative and fiscal support. The competitive application process will favor district or school teams with strong leadership and staff commitment, a focus on data, identified system supports, and strong communication processes.


These smaller grants for may or may not be directly associated with system wide or district goals, but nonetheless support shifts towards student driven learning. Up to $10,000 maximum. Examples could include: support of subject and areas that naturally lean toward mastery, such as reading, music, physical education, gifted and talented programs; support for project, problem or place based learning; precise professional development like book studies; etc. For schools or classrooms to elevate their student driven learning practices.