During 2019-2020, students used the Mastery Transcript for the very first time during college admissions to two- and four-year colleges. Based upon their experiences and the responses from higher education, we believe the Mastery Transcript is a compelling solution for a more holistic approach to college admissions and for a deeper and more contextual view into each student’s accomplishments from inside and outside of school. Nearly 60 different colleges, ranging from small selective colleges to large public universities, have accepted students from our group of sending high schools, and we are now even more confident in the promise of the movement for educational change.
With our growing network of hundreds of public and independent member schools, we are advocating for replacing grades and GPA with mastery credits and evidence of student work that show the student’s range of knowledge and skills. In this way we can support high schools in structuring learning around students’ needs while opening up deeper learning experiences. The Mastery Transcript approach does not limit or hinder a student’s access to college; in fact, we are hearing that it increases admissions officers’ ability to determine whether an applicant is qualified and the right fit for a particular campus or program.
In prior conversations, Jarrid Whitney, assistant vice president for student affairs, enrollment and career services at Caltech and a member of MTC’s Higher Ed Advisory Group (HEAG), has said: “We care deeply about the collaborative spirit that we can’t get from testing, grades and GPA. We need a better understanding of how kids work with their peers—that is really beneficial for the selection process.” Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management at University of Michigan and also a member of our HEAG, has said: “In the long run, if we are successful in transforming how we deliver education to students and ultimately how we assess that…when we look back in 20 to 30 years from now…I believe MTC will have been a catalyst to that movement.”
In the coming year, the Mastery Transcript will be used by more than a dozen high schools and its use will expand from there, as more members progress in their journeys to school transformation--and as our holistic but consistent, easy-to-read Mastery Transcript format is adopted more widely. Regardless of what scores will be available or not from the range of educational testing sources, including SAT, AP, ACT, etc, we believe the Mastery Transcript will provide a full picture of the student’s accomplishments and potential to thrive in college, career, and life. This is not just a message of hope; there is already strong and growing data that schools can make deeper learning the end goal, while also ensuring greater equity, integrity, fulfillment, and humanity in the college admission process.