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Creating Mastery Goals with Khan Academy

Learn how to create and monitor Course and Unit Mastery goals.
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Assigning Course and Unit Mastery Goals on Khan Academy provides a clear, measurable path for learning. A Course Mastery Goal is a long-term target for a student to achieve proficiency in a specific Khan Academy course throughout the academic year. This encourages steady progress and deep understanding of the subject matter. A Unit Mastery Goal, on the other hand, is a short-term target for mastering a specific unit. These goals can align with current instruction and help promote understanding of the unit's content. They can be used as standalone short-term goals or in conjunction with Course Mastery Goals to form a comprehensive learning path for the academic year. These tools, in conjunction with supportive teachers, create a supportive learning environment, promoting personalized learning journeys. We recommend combining these goals with assignments to encourage students to work towards mastering skills, ensuring a tailored path for each student's needs.
This article discusses Mastery Goals, the difference between Course and Unit Mastery Goals, and the best way to use these goals to track student progress.

Using Mastery Goals

Course and Unit Mastery Goals on Khan Academy serve as powerful tools for teachers to guide and monitor student progress. A Course Mastery Goal is a year-long academic goal for a student to become proficient in a particular course on Khan Academy. It's designed to encourage consistent progress and a deep understanding of the course content. Teachers can use these goals to gauge the class's progress throughout the year, identify areas of strength and opportunity, and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly. These goals also provide a clear path for students, keeping them focused and motivated as they see their progress toward mastering the entire course content.
Unit Mastery Goals are like mini-targets within a course. They divide the course into smaller, more digestible parts. This way, teachers can concentrate on specific parts of the curriculum, making it easier to spot and fill in any gaps in students' knowledge. These goals easily align with what you are teaching in class, ensuring that the learning process is relevant and comprehensive. By keeping an eye on students' progress towards these goals, teachers can ensure that each student is advancing at an appropriate pace for their unique needs. This detailed division of content helps students understand what they're expected to learn and gives them a sense of accomplishment as they master each unit.
Course and Unit Mastery Goals are not just about setting targets; they are about creating a structured, personalized learning environment that motivates students and supports teachers in their instructional planning.

Setting Mastery Goals

Step 1 Setting a Course Mastery or Unit Mastery goal
  • Go to your teacher dashboard and choose a class.
  • Under the Mastery Goals tab, select Assign.
  • Select your course, Course mastery or Unit mastery and set your due date. Click the blue Create button on the bottom right of your screen.
    • When setting Unit Mastery goals, we suggest you assign one unit at a time that corresponds to your current instruction unit.
  • Select a date and click on the blue create course goal or create 1 unit goal button.
  • You will be taken to the Mastery goal progress page
Course mastery goal
Animated GIF of how to set a Course Mastery Goal
Unit mastery goal
Animated GIF of how to set a Unit Mastery Goal

Mastery goal progress: Tracking and editing mastery goals

Step 2: Tracking unit and course mastery goal progress
  • On the left-hand navigation menu, under Mastery Goals, click the Progress tab.
  • Here, you can see all your mastery goals for this class.
  • You can sort the view by All goals, Course goals, or Unit goals.
  • If you click on the blue Details, a pop-up showing each student's progress on that specific goal will appear.
  • To edit or delete a goal, click on the three horizontal dots to the right of the details.
Animated GIF of how to track progress of Course and Unit Mastery Goals.

A few reminders

Here are a few reminders to consider.
  • Explain to students what Mastery goals are and how Course goals and Unit goals differ. We encourage teachers to include students in the goal-setting and decision-making processes whenever possible.
  • Create a Khan Academy routine for students to work on mastery goals. We recommend 30 to 45 total learning minutes, and at least two skills leveled up per week.
  • Have data-driven conversations with students using data from mastery goal progress. When students need extra help, you can strategically use assignments to provide targeted support in areas they struggle with. In this case, you can assign additional content to help students develop foundational skills.
  • When assigning mastery goals, students will have to master all skills in the course to reach 100%. Realistically, we recommend students aim to master 80% of the course. The mastery progress report will indicate that students have completed the course once they achieve 80% or higher mastery. Achieving mastery is a journey that every student, regardless of their starting point, can embark on. It's about setting a learning goal and persistently pursuing it. This journey may look different for everyone, but the destination is the same - a deep, comprehensive understanding of the content. It's not just about memorizing facts but about developing a true understanding of the underlying concepts. Every student has the potential to reach mastery. It's a testament to the power of perseverance, dedication, and the belief that every student can succeed.

Want to join the conversation?

  • blobby green style avatar for user victoria.miles1
    Is it possible to set a Mastery Goal not for an entire course, but just for a unit of a course? For example, the Quadratic Functions unit of Algebra 1?
    (19 votes)
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  • leafers seedling style avatar for user Randilyn
    is it possible to set mastery goals for yourself? there's a few courses I want to learn over the summer, but I'm a huge procrastinator and deadlines are helpful for me.
    (8 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user karen.wolfe
    How much time should be given to complete "Getting Ready for third grade"? at the beginning of the third grade school year?
    (7 votes)
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    • stelly blue style avatar for user Evan Lewis
      This can vary greatly depending on the student, but it will likely take several weeks to complete the course. Most of the Get Ready courses have anywhere from 1/3 to 1/4 the number of skills as the on-grade-level course.

      The Get Ready courses are designed to cover all of the necessary pre-requisite skills for the on-grade-level course, so this is a great way to review concepts from previous courses. Additionally, this can help identify previous gaps in learning.

      If your students are pressed for time, then I suggest having them complete the unit test for each unit in the Get Ready course first. This will immediately give them credit for skills that they have already mastered and will allow them to spend time focusing on only the skills that they are struggling with.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Clare DePeter Powers
    I teach a very diverse inclusion math class in 8th grade, but I have some students that are working on CCSS for grade 3 standards. How can I assign different assignments at these different levels?
    (5 votes)
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    • stelly blue style avatar for user Evan Lewis
      If you have lots of students working at different levels, then I suggest assigning a Course Mastery goal to each student at their respective level.

      When assigning the course mastery goal, you can choose to assign it to specific students, so only those working at that level will see the goal.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Amy Wooldridge
    can you give me an example of what these goals might look like for an in coming 5th grader?
    (2 votes)
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  • winston baby style avatar for user Mrs. Desautels
    How can I change a mastery level for a student, while keeping the other students where they are at?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user bethking
    how do I add a student new to the class
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user cgbowler
    The "Algebra 1 (Illustrative Mathematics)" appears to be mastery-enabled, but I cannot add it to the list of courses for my students to set course or unit goals. Am I missing something or is it not mastery-enabled?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user JulietJ
    How is course mastery different from assigning tasks within each unit? Can students do both (complete the tasks and also work on self-paced course mastery)? Some students need the explicitness of assigning work, while others do ok with proceeding at their own pace. Please advise.
    (1 vote)
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    • stelly blue style avatar for user Evan Lewis
      Yes, you can assign both course mastery goals and specific content. With a Course Mastery goal, students work through the course content on their own, with the goal being to master as many skills as possible. Skills can be mastered by completing practice exercises, quizzes, and unit tests.

      If you have students who are struggling to self-pace the content, then you can assign specific content to either the entire class or individual students as necessary.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user rosangela.lenz
    Muito bom o curso
    (1 vote)
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