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News & Views - Aug, 1993 Issue #23 

Todd Horn, Headmaster
Mayer, Arizona

Orme School in Arizona, a non-Special Purpose boarding school, is instituting several initiatives stemming from recent research in how children learn. "The first is curricular. Current educational research indicates that students learn best when mastery of concepts, rather than coverage of material, is emphasized.... Courses will be designed for different mastery levels, rather than grade level.... As the brain functions best in integrated learning exercises, introductory math and science courses are being combined." Much of this comes from the concept called MASTERY EDUCATION.

"MASTERY EDUCATION is a concept very much related to the latest business management buzzword 'TQM' (total quality management).... Adapting TQM principles to education via the mastery concept involves taking similar quality control methods of business and applying them to the education process.... The main emphasis in mastery education is to enable students to master concepts at a certain level before they progress to the next. By realizing that all students do not learn and can't advance at the same rate, the intent is to modify the existing curriculum to allow students to work at a level they are adept in, rather than assigning

With the expectation that 'success breeds success', students will be encouraged to excel in areas where their talents and interests lie, rather than placing undue emphasis on the broad based coverage of different material.

"The faculty and administration are confident that we will do a better job of educating if parents, students, and ultimately colleges, are comfortable with the fact that students have advanced through levels of proficiency within a subject area, rather than just complete selected coursework."

Copyright 1993, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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