Mastery and Automaticity: When learners are reliably able to perform a skill, we say they have mastery of that skill. For example, someone who is able to read a Grade 5 word list may hesitate between words or give evidence of having to use elementary word attack skills to figure them out, but unless there is obvious deliberate effort to decode the words, we say that he or she has mastery of Word Recognition at Grade 5.
This same person, however, may be able to read a Grade 3 word list accurately with no evidence of having to use word attack skills; the words are recognized automatically. We can say this person has Word Recognition mastery of Grade 5 words and automaticity at Grade 3.
The difference between these concepts is the level of conscious application of underlying skills that are called upon in order to accomplish a task. Consideration of ease, accuracy, and rate of performance is the yardstick for automaticity.
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