Redesigning the High School Transcript
The Shape of Learning
Designing a new high-school transcript for the Mastery Transcript Consortium.
System mapping
Interactive prototypes
Website design & development
“Intentional Futures has been an integral, long-term partner in this work; from the early systems thinking and functional prototyping all the way through to the development of the initial product.”
Mike Flanagan, Chief Product Officer
Overview

The Mastery Transcript ConsortiumTM (MTC), a growing network of almost 300 high schools, formed around the audacious vision to reinvent the high-school transcript. MTC turned to Intentional Futures for help. Over more than two years, we partnered with MTC to conduct stakeholder research, create journey maps, design visuals, and prototype tools. Finally, we moved beyond prototyping to build the first version of the transcript system, producing the official mastery transcripts for MTC’s first cohort of graduates.

Today, regardless of the depth and breadth of a student’s experiences in high school, their final transcript inevitably reduces them to a single grade-point average (GPA). Students are trained to prioritize preserving their grade over the pursuit of authentic learning. And even as many colleges feed the system by over-indexing on GPA and class rank, they acknowledge that seemingly identical GPAs can mean very different things depending on the issuing school.

MTC leaders believed that creating a new kind of transcript--one that hundreds, if not thousands, of schools across the country could get behind--would fundamentally change the game. This transcript would have to take the bold step of removing the GPA and providing a concise, meaningful picture of the specific skills a student had mastered during their high-school career.

In late 2019 the first student used the mastery transcript to apply for college admission. They were accepted to their first choice school, and they start classes in 2020.
What we made

Our work with MTC began by creating a technical journey map to guide product decisions. We then iterated through wireframe sketches and created more polished transcript designs, drawing on feedback from both MTC schools and admissions officers.

To test the designs more thoroughly, we recruited a school to help us create a set of authentic transcripts, filled with real data and actual student evidence. That led to a functional prototype that allowed users to interact with every component of the transcript. We used this prototype to stress-test our decisions with admissions officers, iterating even further on concepts until landing on the final transcript designs.

With designs in hand, we began development in earnest, building two integrated applications: one for schools to enter and manage their transcript information, and one in which users could view a student’s official mastery transcript.

Impact
When we first started working with MTC, the compelling vision of the MTC Mastery TranscriptTM was still only a vision. Now several students from around the country have been admitted to college using an official Mastery Transcript. The number of MTC member schools, both public and private, adopting the Mastery Transcript continues to increase. This means a growing and diverse number of student pioneers nationwide are on track to use the Mastery Transcript to change the way they--and future generations of young people--experience education, both in high school and beyond.