$2 million Collaborative Innovation Grant awarded to the Mastery Transcript Consortium

Posted May 11, 2017


More than 100 independent schools from around the world have joined forces to change high school by inventing a new kind of transcript that shows what students know and what they can do. The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) is developing a transcript that will reflect a student's mastery of skills and knowledge instead of a collection of grades. This effort is being supported by The Edward E. Ford Foundation, which this week awarded the MTC a $2 million matching grant, the single largest grant the foundation has ever made.

"We want every student's accomplishments and humanity to be visible and valued," said Patricia Russell, interim executive director of the MTC and dean of studies at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. "By focusing more on mastery than on a broken instrument that no longer serves students, teachers or college admissions professionals, the MTC hopes to change the relationship between preparation for college and college admissions for the betterment of students."

The MTC's ambitious vision and collaborative approach were key factors in securing the support of The Edward E. Ford Foundation, according to John Gulla, executive director of the Foundation. "In terms of communicating student progress and achievement, the standard high school transcript is as limited as it is widely used," he said. "The MTC hopes to fundamentally alter the correlation between preparation for college and a student's ability to succeed in college for the betterment of students. The Edward E. Ford Foundation wants to do everything it can to support their work."

The EE Ford grant will support the MTC's efforts to develop a technology platform that allows the complete record of a student's Mastery Credits, submitted evidence and institutional standards to be shared with college admission offices for evaluation.

"While our current focus is on independent schools, our goal is to reach out to public, charter and parochial schools once the model is developed and tested. We firmly believe that the principles that undergird this new transcript will benefit all students, regardless of their school setting," said D. Scott Looney, founder of the Mastery Transcript Consortium and head of school at Hawken School in Cleveland. "The support of The Edward E. Ford Foundation will enable us to take our concept to reality on a timeline to serve more students more quickly. We are honored to be a recipient of this Collaborative Leadership Grant."

Launched March 1, 2017, the MTC's membership has nearly tripled from the first group of early adopters. The membership includes independent schools from coast to coast and internationally. The MTC will need to raise an additional $2 million in philanthropic support to access The Edward E. Ford Foundation grant. Each of the MTC's 14 founding schools has agreed to raise a portion of these dollars, said Looney. "We feel very confident we have the support from our communities. We all know the system is broken and that the current transcript is as ineffective as it is harmful to kids. The time to fix it is now."

The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) is a growing collective of high schools working to change the relationship between learning, assessment and college admissions for the betterment of students. Membership is open to any accredited, independent school committed to improving their students' learning outcomes while maintaining and enhancing their college admissions profile. For more information about this topic, contact Terry Dubow, the MTC's Director of Communications, at (724) 877-4477 or dubow@mastery.org.

In its almost 60 year history, The Edward E. Ford Foundation has made grants totaling more than $120 million to over 800 different schools and associations. The Foundation's mission is in part "to challenge and inspire [independent schools] to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources …by encouraging collaboration with other institutions." For additional information about The Edward E. Ford Foundation, contact John Gulla at (718) 596-1950 or office@eeford.org.

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