The idea for Mastery Transcript Consortium® (MTC) sparked in 2014 and the network officially launched on March 1, 2017, to champion a belief that there is a better way of preparing high school students for the world ahead and of presenting them to colleges and employers. The concept for MTC was born from the Hawken School in Cleveland, thanks to the vision of Scott Looney, head of school at Hawken and now MTC’s Board Chair, who saw the most basic of all high school documents—the transcript—as a boulder in the way of high school innovation.
That 99 percent of the high school transcripts follow an identical format is a vestige of an outdated industrial age. The Mastery Transcript hopes to reflect a new age that demands a new approach to education.
Scott Looney, Head of School, Hawken School, Ohio
September 2014Hawken School launches entrepreneurship programHawken School launches an entrepreneurship program, fully opening the door for immersive, mastery-based learning. The program takes off, under the leadership of Doris Korda and Scott Looney; but the two leaders soon realize the students’ work does not translate well into grades...they need a new transcript.
January 2015The idea of MTC is bornScott Looney takes the challenge of the transcript to his Board of Trustees at Hawken, and the idea for MTC and bringing a new transcript to scale is born.
March 2015Research gets underwayArmed with a proven approach to instruction and the need for a new transcript, Hawken School works with Hanover Research to produce a national, benchmarking study showing the need for a mastery transcript. Nothing similar had existed in this space before; all existing transcripts were either entirely narrative or graded.
January to September 2016Building consensusThe process of gathering feedback begins, including from college admissions officers. Overall consensus is that a new transcript would be a challenge….but, if done with a collective group of schools, change is possible. The importance of a networked approach takes hold.
October 2016Creation of the MTC BoardThe first invitational meeting of schools is held in Cleveland, Ohio, which resulted in a group of founding schools joining the MTC and the establishment of MTC’s first Board of Directors.
March 2017MTC launches at NAIS Annual ConferenceMTC is officially introduced. The inaugural meeting is held in Baltimore with 100+ participants and a welcome to MTC’s initial 54 member schools—15 more members sign on that day. Looney introduces Patricia Russell, MTC’s interim executive director.
April 20172017 Collaborative Innovation Grant Awarded to MTCThe Edward E. Ford Foundation awards a $2 million Collaborative Innovation Grant, the largest single grant in its 60-year history to MTC recognizing that the Mastery Transcript is a bold concept with great potential.
June 2017MTC membership grows to 100Just four months after launch MTC reaches 100 members.
August 2017First site director meetingThe first group of MTC site directors gather at Phillips Academy (MA) to imagine their school's Mastery Credits. Global Online Academy facilitated the session, using their vast experience with competency-based education to help site directors with their work.
November 2017Award winnerMTC earns the hundrED Award for innovation in education.
February 2018MTC announces new CEOStacy Caldwell joins MTC, bringing a deep understanding of innovative education models as well as the dynamics at the intersection between preparation for college and college admissions.
July 2018MTC welcomes public school membersMTC welcomes several public schools right out of the gate. In this first year public school growth was significant.
December 2018MTC earns key industry awardMTC earns the Reimagine Education “Gold” Award—the top honor for an educational solution or pedagogy that excels in five areas: approach, uniqueness, innovation, scalability, and efficacy.
March 2019Mastery School of Hawken announcedMastery School of Hawken is announced on February 14, 2019—the first school based upon the concept of the Mastery Transcript. The school will open in August 2020 and is an interesting model to watch.
April 2019MTC welcomes Higher Ed Advisory GroupMTC’s Higher Ed Advisory Group launches with about a dozen inaugural members, poised to serve as a growing group of admissions leaders from diverse colleges throughout the country. Together they will provide MTC with feedback, thought leadership, and advocacy in the world of higher education.
July 2019Membership milestonePublic and charter schools now comprise nearly 20% of MTC membership.
Fall 2019MTC Mastery Transcipt launchesThe first, functional version of the MTC Mastery Transcript launches.
November to December 2019First Mastery Transcript submitted to a college!Pioneering students at MTC’s pilot schools use the Mastery Transcript to apply early decision to colleges. Numerous other members begin beta testing the transcript, while others continue to advance on their journeys to mastery learning.
January 2020Regular decision applications beginStudents apply to colleges using the Mastery Transcript regular decision. In total, dozens of students applied to more than 100 colleges using the Mastery Transcript during 2019-2020.
January to March 2020Regular decision applications submittedMore and more college acceptances begin rolling in from students applying with the Mastery Transcript; initial results are very encouraging.
March 2020Membership milestoneMTC officially surpasses 300 member schools.
Who Joins the MTC
Our schools are reimagining what students learn in high school, and how they best learn it. They embrace real-world, collaborative, project-based learning, and prioritize 21st Century skills, SEL, and meta-cognitive skills. Member school leaders appreciate that traditional transcripts are poorly aligned to the learning models of the future, and that Mastery Learning empowers learners in–and out of–the classroom. Rethinking traditional grading is a powerful counter to student burnout; it is also a key tool for equity and serving students from marginalized communities. These schools join so that their learners have tools to tell their stories.
Teachers, parents, and thought leaders can now join the mastery learning conversation as well. If your school or district is not yet ready for full membership, or you just personally want to learn more, Individual Membership is for you. Individual members get access to MTC professional learning opportunities, and also help fund financially strained member schools through the MTC Scholarship Fund.
The best path to mastery learning stems from deep collaboration across towns, cities, and states. District partnerships with central offices committed to mastery learning can drive powerful system change. With high schools as our flagship partners, MTC district partnerships also align stakeholders in middle school, Higher Ed, and community.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Higher Education has been undergoing disruption. Forward-looking college leaders are embracing interdisciplinary and co-curricular learning, and re-aligning their faculties to focus on critical skills while offering their students a clear path to their first good job. College registrars considering digital competency-based credentials, and enrollment leaders looking for deeper insight into applicants, are all part of a wider mastery learning movement.