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What is Mastery-Based Education?


“You are not just being taught subjects; you are learning. The entire system teaches us how to problem-solve. The whole purpose is to get you out in the real world.”

— Idaho Mastery Education Network Student

In a traditional school and classroom, students progress primarily according to the calendar. This is commonly referred to as “seat time”—how much time students spend seated in a classroom. But credits and diplomas based on seat time—and sometimes barely passing grades—create mixed messages for students and families and is not the ideal way to ensure students gain the knowledge and skills that today’s world requires.

With mastery education, student progress is based upon a student’s demonstration of mastery of competencies and content, not seat time or the age or grade level of the student. Mastery-based learning at PRAXIUM focuses on educating the whole child—addressing their psychological, emotional, academic, and social needs.


idaho mastery education department of education state of idaho

Mastery-based education is nothing new to Idaho! In fact, Idaho is one of the very few states leading the nation with its approach, adoption, and implementation of mastery. Educators, legislators, and key stakeholders across the country are looking at Idaho as a model for how to collaboratively transition from a traditional education model to mastery education.

Beginning in 2012, and formalized in House Bill 110 passed by the Idaho Legislature during the 2015 session, the Idaho State Department of Education, under the leadership of Superintendent Sherri Ybarra, was directed to move Idaho toward a mastery education model.


Mastery education lets students advance as they master concepts and skills, regardless of their age or the time it takes to get there. With mastery education, the approach and pace in a classroom are designed to match each student’s unique personality, needs, and learning style. In contrast to traditional teaching models, teachers in mastery classrooms serve more as facilitators of learning than as instructors. Mastery education provides support to struggling students before they advance, thereby preventing further failure. Students receive almost constant feedback to show progress on learning targets, nurture awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes, and celebrate growth in real-time.


Mastery-based learning through PRAXIUM offers five key benefits to students:

  • Offers flexibility
  • Promotes transparency
  • Develops real-world skills
  • Ensures success
  • Personalizes learning

Mastery education meets children where they are and lets them learn in ways that are best for them. It allows for more personalized, differentiated learning. Students in PRAXIUM classrooms greatly benefit from a personalized learning experience, receive assistance when needed, and advance—and graduate—with the skills necessary for future college and career success. Students don’t just learn the content expected. They also must learn and master competency skills and habits of mind that are essential to a person in the 21st century.