Unlike traditional high schools, which use a time-based system, Brightmont Academy makes time a variable in the learning process, harnessing the power of fluid, mastery-based learning—also known as competency-based learning— to ensure that all students learn the content.
Time-based systems define the amount of time that students must attend school in order to earn credits, generally adhering to the “seat-time requirements” established by state regulations. Mastery-based learning, in contrast, adheres to the belief that students learn at different rates. Students spend as much time on concepts and units as they need for mastery, no more and no less.
At Brightmont Academy, mastery is set at 80%, so students who perform at a lower threshold often need additional instruction in order to meet this level. Students gain confidence while they build skills, because they know that they really understand the material and are well-prepared for the next level of instruction.
Mastery-based learning is flexible, so that teachers can adjust teaching and learning to different circumstances and needs. It ensures that students do not advance to the next concept before they understand the last. It allows teachers to continually build on student understanding, avoiding any gaps in learning or foundational skills. And it means that students progress when they are ready and do not have to repeat work they already understand. Mastery-based learning actually embodies the widespread motto of educational systems—that all kids can learn.