Smart Revise takes a pragmatic approach to mastery learning. In Quiz students have a mastery bar that indicates how many times a question has been answered correctly in a row. Even when questions have been answered correctly they reappear and mastered questions never completely disappear. Repetition is at the heart of what enables Smart Revise to raise attainment.

Mastery bar

How Smart Revise can be used for mastery learning




A teacher can:

  1. Allow students to use Quiz independently. This will present students with a mastery bar for each question. Through spaced practice the goal is for students to answer each question three times in a row, not knowing when the question will be asked again.
  2. Use Terms reflective mode for students to RAG rate themselves on the key terms in a topic and only move on to the next topic when 80% mastery of the terms has been achieved.
  3. Use Tasks to set students an assessment. Using the clone a task feature, students can be set the same task again until they achieve a mark of 80% or more.

A student can:

  1. See their mastery for each Quiz question.
  2. Use Terms to build a custom deck of cards for the concepts they don’t yet fully understand.
  3. See their last answer to a question before tackling it again in Terms interactive and Advance modes.

The research

Obtaining a high success rate is one of the ten Rosenshine principles. A success rate of around 80% has been found to be optimal, showing students are learning and also being challenged.

Subject matter is broken into blocks or units with predetermined objectives and specified outcomes. Students must demonstrate mastery on unit tests, typically 80%, before moving on to new material. Any students who do not achieve mastery are provided with extra support through a range of teaching strategies such as more intensive teaching, tutoring, peer-assisted learning, small group discussions, or additional homework. Students continue the cycle of studying and testing until the mastery criteria are met.

In practice mastery learning is challenging to implement because ideally students do not move onto new content until they have mastered what they have already learned. In addition, it may be more effective when students work collaboratively and take responsibility for supporting each other’s progress.

Rosenshine, B. (2012) Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. American Educator, 36(1), p12-39.