The Da Vinci Mastery Based Grading Transition

Nicholas Porter

Every year, hundreds of thousands of teachers switch the schools in which they teach at. 


It has been reported that 13.8% of teachers are either leaving the school they are working at or the teaching field altogether. There are many different reasons for this, depending on what situation each teacher is in. Whether the teacher simply doesn’t enjoy their work environment, or are looking for higher pay, it is no secret that many and more teachers are changing their work environment. It’s hard to find a school to teach at and be happy, then you have Da Vinci Communications. 


Even though typically students are the ones asked about their environment at school, this time teachers were asked about their experiences at Da Vinci. 


One of the first-year teachers at Da Vinci, Mr. Einstein Lopez, now teaches physics for freshmen attending DVC. Einstein talked about what made him want to become a teacher. 


“I was fortunate to have many great teachers during my K-12 schooling,” said Lopez. “My teachers motivated me and supported me and I feel like Da Vinci helps me do this well.” 


DVC is unique in many ways, one of which is their grading system. Most schools throughout California adhere to the “normal” school grading system where 50%=F, 60%=D 70%=C, etc., but not Da Vinci. Da Vinci has a mastery grade system that goes off a 1-4 grading system. 


“I love our mastery-based system, the point-based system is traditional in most schools but unfair, learning something new is difficult and you won’t always understand it the first time you see it,” said Lopez. “I don’t know if mastery-based is easier or harder but it is much fairer.”


 This mastery grading system isn’t very popular but remains a hallmark of DVC’s mostly-unprecedented approach to education. However, not all students have the same opinion. Senior Austin Fulks had a much different opinion when it came to DVC.


“My first year at DVC was mad confusing, this new grading system is extra,”said Fulks. “It makes me stress out and worry about my grades more, especially if I don’t do well on projects.”


Fulks went on to say that he likes things to be original, and that he’s always been used to the “original” grading system and feels like it doesn’t need to change. 


You can never make everyone happy, but the world is all about adapting, and mastery-based grading will only get more popular whether people like it or not. Da Vinci has it and they are evolving with it. 


“The mastery based system allows students to make mistakes early on, and as time goes on, you can prove your mastery of the essential skills you’re studying,” said Lopez.