It’s Not Where You Start—It’s Where You End Up

In real life, there is no “E for effort.” People are evaluated, and progress, based on how well they do. At Foundry College, we think education should be the same way. Mastery-based education means that students master every skill before moving on. It’s motivating for students because they can see their progress, and it’s attractive to employers because it provides solid evidence that students do in fact have what it takes to succeed on the job.

Mastering Three Levels of Competencies

Foundry College characterizes skills and knowledge at three different levels—nano, mini and macro. Each group of nano competencies builds into a mini competency, and each group of mini competencies builds into a macro competency. Students acquire competencies in steady, intentional sequences, making progress in every single class session.


Nano Competencies

Specific competencies, such as finding the source of a claim


Mini Competencies

More general competencies, such as evaluating source quality in news reports


Macro Competencies

General competencies, such as detecting fake news (a type of critical thinking)

Evaluating Mastery

Foundry College doesn’t give grades—students have either “mastered” a competency or are “in progress.” Although this approach is similar to the traditional concept of pass/fail, a “pass” at Foundry College means more than just getting by: students must demonstrate a deep understanding of the material and ability to consistently apply skills and knowledge into practice.


To master a competency, students must achieve a perfect score (every answer correct) on an end-of-class quiz. Once they pass (which may require multiple attempts), students are considered to have mastered the material—however, students must remember the material and pass an end-of-class cumulative final quiz.

In Progress

Students who don’t pass the end-of-class quiz after two attempts must review the recording of the relevant lecture outside of class. After they do, students can try again to pass the quiz.

US Marine Corps soldier working on laptop. The model is wearing an official US Marine corps Marpat BDU uniform.

Supporting Student Success

Foundry College courses are designed such that all required material can be learned in class, with no pre-work or homework. However, we know that students may occasionally need extra support to master certain skills or knowledge. We offer free one-on-one personal coaching and free one-on-one academic mentoring to help students succeed.

Make the Most of Your Education