Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is The Grid Method?
The Grid Method is a student paced, mastery learning system that takes the learning opportunities you already provide your students and makes them more targeted, effective and successful by integrating them into a mastery grid. Students are formatively assessed after each assignment and get multiple opportunities to succeed. It is a way to reach all students where they are instead of where you want them to be.
Who is The Grid Method for?
This method is for anyone who wants to reach more students and hold their learners more accountable. It’s for the new teachers trying to figure everything out and the experienced teacher trying to renew their love of teaching. It was created by a successful teacher that had the worst year of his life and needed to make a change. The Grid Method also works with technology for those individuals or districts looking for a way to fully integrate the new technology they have to increase student achievement.
Why would I want to change the way I teach?
If what you’re doing is working and you’re reaching every student in your classroom…DON’T! The Grid Method can give you more time, give your students more success, and help you implement dozens of research based practices with one easy to use system. The Grid Method shouldn’t change your style, passion, or talent as a teacher. It simply provides a structural framework to implement what you already do well.
Can I apply The Grid Method to behavior?
It has not been used for behavior traditionally, but it absolutely can be utilized to track and monitor student progress towards mastery of behavior targets.
Can The Grid Method be used to drive whole group instruction as opposed to independent learning?
Whole group instruction can absolutely be utilized within the system. Introducing content with whole class instruction and then creating “small groups” or learning teams can allow teachers to provide intervention where needed while encouraging other students to work on more advanced material. The power and success of the system increases as individual accountability and differentiation increases. At a basic level, a targeted and developed grid with whole group instruction as the primary method of delivery would still be more efficient than a traditional “day to day” model of planning or instruction without mastery in mind
Collaboration and small group work is, and should always be, part of learning. The pace is individualized but the learning can absolutely be collaborative.
How can The Grid Method be used for a cross curricular project or PBL?
The Grid Method has been successfully used for the implementation of larger cross-curricular projects. Once the cross-curricular problem is defined, the specific content targets can be created and aligned based on the topic. The content knowledge needed to meet the targets and answer the larger question could be met with targeted learning opportunities (lessons / tasks) which compose the grid and build in a “step by step” manner to the completion of the larger project. Student products are often much more thoughtful and meaningful if lower levels or DOK concepts are fully understood before applied.
How does The Grid Method look in a self-contained room?
The system itself would not change, but the content and design of the grids would need to be modified to be inclusive of more subject areas. As long as the learning targets (objectives) for the content being covered are clear and accessible, the method will still work.
Can the grid or progress through grid be modified for individual needs of students?
Absolutely! Modifying pace, task order, assessments and or delivery of instruction should always be based on student need and best interest. The focus should always be providing what student needs to master content.
What if I don’t have any technology?
Technology is a huge advantage, but no part of the system is fully dependent on it. The instruction and learning opportunities should be designed with both the students and resources available in mind. Targeted activities and instruction can be created with aligned assessments without technology, but additional time may be required for grading tasks or providing live instruction. Stations are a way to implement multiple opportunities at once based on level of mastery without technology. Technology simply makes that easier.
What is Progressive Mastery Learning, LLC?
PML is a company that was created to establish a website, resources, and assistance for teachers, schools, and districts to learn how to use The Grid Method. The company provides an easier way to organize, protect, and centralize what we do.
FAQs for Teachers
Does planning take longer?
Our work has shown that the initial planning of the grids and alignment of the curriculum does take some time up front, however the day to day planning and all future planning is drastically reduced once the system is in place.
How long is a unit when using Mastery Grids?
The length of a unit is directly dependant on the contents of the Mastery Grid. A unit can be anywhere from 2 – 5 weeks but is determined by the type of activities, amount of content covered, and more importantly the pace of student learning.
Does this work with my subject and/or grade level?
The Grid Method has been implemented successfully in almost all grade levels and subject areas. Lower grade levels can require additional modification for younger learners but foundational components have worked and can be used in any subject / grade taught.
Can I still do group work and projects?
Group work and projects should be part of any classroom. Collaboration and the creation of products to show knowledge are an important part of engagement and demonstration of mastery. These things can absolutely be used within a Grid Method classroom either embedded in the Mastery Grid, separate from the grid, or partially in and out of the grid. There is flexibility to include all of these aspects.
How do grades work within this system?
Grading, due to the various policies, and district / state initiatives requires flexibility. However, The Grid Method fully endorses a standards or target based approach to grading. The contents of the gradebook should represent knowledge and mastery of student learning based on carefully developed learning targets or standards covered within a unit. Grading should NOT include things like “Worksheet 2.4” but statements such as “The student can complete 2 step equations using a given method.”
Do students have to teach themselves?
Self-paced learning is NOT self-taught learning. While learners may work through the content and master it at their own pace, The Grid Method should provide more opportunities to teach NOT less. As students continue working at their own pace there should be more chances for one on one instruction, intervention and instruction that the teacher has with each student.
Can I still get through all my curriculum this way?
Based on not only our experience but the existing research that exists, Mastery Learning does take longer than traditional models of instruction. With this said there are ways to motivate, encourage, and identify needs of students that can allow you to cover all the needed material for your class but to a higher level of mastery.
When do I move on to the next unit?
Moving from one Grid or Unit to the next is based on teacher preference. They can run Grids “Open” or in a “Closed – Unit to Unit” model. Using things like daily, weekly, and long term targets while students learn at their own pace are recommended. It should also be noted that moving to the next grid does NOT mean students can’t show mastery on previous targets or continue to complete tasks outside of class.
What about preparing for state tests?
Teachers implementing the system have shown great success in all year end, and state tests. By teaching to mastery many students will acquire, retain, and be able to apply content at higher levels than ever before.
Can I still do whole class instruction?
Embedding whole group / class instruction, activities or experiences is easily accommodated with The Grid Method. You can either do them before “grid work” begins in what we call a “skill drill” OR you can simply provide these experiences on days where the students don’t work through their individual grids but focus on the whole class experience. The Grid will then provide the content and structure to return to once the experience is over.
Will this work with my textbook / curriculum?
The Grid Method has been utilized with multiple curriculums, programs, softwares and textbook successfully.
FAQs for School Administrators
Will this work in my school of district?
YES! We have worked with teachers, schools and districts in all demographic, socioeconomic and academic settings. Regardless of your school or district’s specific needs, challenges, or level of success. We work very closely with schools and districts to ensure that The Grid Method has the greatest positive impact on student success and growth.
How much does this cost?
We offer multiple levels of service that range from $500 – 15,000 per school / building at the district level. We can also create and offer custom solutions to your training and development needs. You can visit: www.thegridmethod.com/pricing/ to get a custom quote for your school right now. You can also call 330.933.6200 or email: Chad@thegridmethod.com to discuss any of your needs.
What options do I have for training and development?
We offer everything from 1 – 1.5 hour training sessions, 1 and 2 day workshops, through full follow up / support and implementation packages to help schools and districts increase student achievement. Regardless of your budget, time, or constraints we can find a solution to fit your needs or create a custom solution for your school or district.
What changes will I notice in classrooms?
Your classrooms will not only see increased achievement but students will be more focused, engaged, and motivated because of more ownership in their learning. Teachers will take the role of facilitators as they monitor student progress, individualize their instruction and intervention, and provide targeted feedback based on student need. Things like goal writing, Growth Mindset, Universal Design (UDL), and Formative Assessment will be embedded in every single Grid Method classroom. Students will be met where they are at instead of where we “think” they should be as they work through enriching and meaningful learning opportunities developed by their teachers at their own pace.
How will this increase student performance?
By meeting the needs of individual students and allowing them to show mastery at their own pace with aligned Mastery Grids student performance will increase. This is not only supported by the research, literature.
Does this align with current initiatives we are using?
The Grid Method being inclusive of best practices in education includes many current initiatives that districts / schools have. Additionally it can both support or work parallel to many others. Whether your focus is PBIS, UDL, SBI, CBE, STEM, PBL’s or any other best practice the system has been shown to work in almost every scenario and capacity with existing and future initiatives.
How will this affect teacher evaluations?
The implementation of The Grid Method follows and embeds all best practices in education and has been shown to align and meet the requirements of teacher evaluations.
How do I know if my teachers are implementing properly?
Not only will provide support and follow up to teachers with implementation but we will provide tools, resources and information so that the administration at both the district and school level can support the progress. These include checklists, observation forms and even an administrator’s guide to improve and make the process easier for all stakeholders.
How will parents react to this initiative?
We provide multiple resources and will even speak to parents regarding this initiative. We advocate for transparency and inclusiveness and even help teachers with parent communication during our training sessions.
What type of support will my teachers have?
We pride ourselves on support and follow up with schools and districts. We also have multiple resources, checklists and templates that can help both teachers and administrators reflect and improve their implementation and instruction within the system. With implementation / support / follow-up services we can ensure that the community, teachers, stakeholders, and administration are all informed and supported throughout the process.
Is it worth the investment?
We are committed to providing the highest value possible with both the training we offer, the support we provide and the service we pride ourselves on. The investments made to improving teacher instruction in your school or district will continue to provide returns for years to come. Unlike initiatives that swoop in and leave, these changes and our implementation process will ensure that we not only build in-district experts, but that the implementation can continue after we leave. This means that an initial investment can produce decades of results for a school or district.