Teaching Experiment Academy

 Brewing Learning Confidence in STEM Education 
A cross-campus collaboration to enhance the quality of STEM education by
UC Irvine, San Jose State University & Cal Poly Pomona

Welcome to TEA

Higher education institutions are looking for ways to improve learning outcomes in STEM education.

A collaborative team from UC Irvine, San Jose State University, and Cal Poly Pomona has created a cohort-based faculty development program, the Teaching Experiment Academy (TEA). The team focuses on experimentation and creativity, which encourage students to embrace mistakes and believe in their own ability to solve a problem.

Join us to Enhance STEM Teaching

The Teaching Experiment Academy (TEA) is a year long program (2021-2022) designed for STEM faculty to redesign their undergraduate courses with the components of Mastery Learning and Specifications Grading.  We anticipate such personalized learning experiences will boost STEM students’ Growth Mindset and improve their learning outcomes.

Our goal is to assist faculty in redesigning the STEM curriculum with a mastery learning structure and specifications grading approach to enhance the learning experience and foster student’s inner growth mindset.

Growth Mindset

generates an inner dialogue, encourages positive thinking, and builds a student’s confidence in STEM exploration.

Mastery Learning

is an instructional strategy to personalize learning experiences based on an individual’s appropriate level. Students must achieve a level of mastery in prerequisite knowledge before moving forward to learn subsequent information.

Specifications Grading

is an alternative approach to grading that aims to motivate students to focus on learning and improving their abilities. By combining the pass/fail structure with the opportunity to revise work, specifications grading offers instructors a way to uphold high academic standards while incentivizing students to take control of their own learning.


The Teaching Experiment Academy program sponsored by the California Learning Lab is created by three institutions: UC Irvine, San Jose State, and Cal Poly Pomona. Click here to learn more about the TEA initiative.

Get Involved

We offer a year-long course redesign program as well as mini-introductory seminars about implementing specifications grading in a STEM course. Click here to learn about the opportunities to join TEA.


Research findings, best teaching practices, and technology tutorials are available for STEM instructors to explore how growth mindset, mastery learning, and specifications grading impact student’s learning success.


View the showcase presentations from the participating TEA faculty after they complete the program in June 2022. Teaching demonstrations and examples about specifications grading are also available here.