Culturally Responsive Mastery-Based Education Research Project

The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University (NYU Metro) and the Mastery Collaborative are conducting the Culturally Responsive Mastery-Based Education Research Project (CR-MBE) to understand how culturally responsive mastery-based practices influence historically marginalized students’ learning capacities, school engagement and academic outcomes. Learning capacities refer to mindsets, learning skills and academic behavior. School engagement refers to academic behavior, attendance and discipline.

Academic outcomes refer to course grades, college and career readiness and other measures of performance. CR-MBE blends two approaches to educating children: (1) centering
students’ cultures and experiences to facilitate teaching and learning and (2) teaching and learning that occurs until students demonstrate proficiency.

Research Questions

  1. What CR-MBE school-wide practices and policies are implemented with quality in Living Lab schools as a whole or in specific Living Lab schools as compared with matched control schools?
  2. What mindsets, practices and skills do Living Lab teachers report, as compared with teachers in control schools?
  3. What short-term outcomes do Living Lab students report or post, as compared with control school students?


The CR-MBE Research project will take place over a two year period and include observations in MC schools, interviews with MC staff, teachers and administrators, surveys administered to students, teachers and staff in MC schools and comparison schools, artifact and document review of the MC program and a photovoice project with MC students. The photovoice project will position students as co-researchers, who will participate in data collection, analysis and dissemination.

Funding for this study provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Oak Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation.
Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.

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