Crowdsourced Data Supporting Student-Centered Learning

As the number of schools, districts and states committed to student-centered, personalized learning practices grows, so does the evidence base. On this page, you’ll find an evolving library of data points that describe the impacts of student-centered and competency-based approaches on student learning and other key outcomes.

The findings are searchable and are sourced from research studies, external evaluations and evidence collected directly by schools, districts and states using student-centered and personalized learning approaches.

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    Curriculum and Instruction

    Student Choice Increases Engagement and Ownership

    During interviews at a new personalized learning charter school, both teachers and students noted that student choice led to increased engagement and ownership over learning.

    Flexible Learning

    Virtual Schools Here to Stay

    A national survey of school districts in June 2021 indicated that 50% of urban, and 25% of all districts, planned to offer a virtual school option, an increase of nine times pre-pandemic offerings.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Teachers Concerned Curriculum Not Culturally Relevant

    In a national survey of teachers during the COVID pandemic, only 35% of teachers felt their curriculum was culturally relevant for the population they teach. Only 41% felt it was accessible, appropriate and engaging for all students.

    Flexible Learning

    Access to Technology in Elementary Grades Triples

    A survey of 300 superintendents revealed the number of districts offering one-to-one initiatives in the elementary grades tripled, from 24% pre-pandemic to 71% in summer 2021. Initiatives in grades 6 to 12 rose to 83%.

    Flexible Learning

    Schools Foster Increased Agency During COVID

    Interviews with students K-12 about virtual and hybrid school experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed an increase in self-directed learning. A stronger sense of autonomy and responsibility was a common theme in the interview analysis.

    Competency-Based Learning

    Students with IEPs See Gains from Self-Paced Unit

    Middle-grades English language arts students in a Texas classroom showed an average of 16% growth, from pre- to post-test, after a self-paced, mastery-based unit. Students with IEPs saw more gains, with an average of 59% pre and 94% post-test.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Content Mastery Increases with Project-Based Learning PD

    A district study showed a significant number of students in each grade met local learning goals one or two of four content areas after their teachers participated in project-based learning training, compared to peers whose teachers did not.

    Student Agency and Voice

    More Autonomy Increases Elementary Reading Scores in TN

    After implementing personalized learning days and increasing student ownership, a fifth grade class in Tennessee saw reading gains along with personal growth. Students reading below grade level fell from 84% to 25% over the course of the year.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Number of Districts With 1:1 Computing Device Ratio Doubled in 2020

    In an EdWeek end-of-year survey the number of districts reporting at least one device per student rose from 41% before the pandemic to 94% percent in 2020, more than doubling.

    Whole Child and Relationship Building

    Social-Emotional Learning Benefits Vulnerable Students

    A study of Chicago students showed the most vulnerable students benefit the most from attending schools that focus both on academics and social-emotional learning. SEL increases graduation rates for high and low-income students, with low-income students seeing the biggest impact. 

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Use of Adaptive Learning Software to Personalize Learning Increased Dramatically

    An EdWeek end-of-year survey shows the number of districts using adaptive learning software to personalize learning rose from 54% before the pandemic to 85% in 2020.

    Whole Child and Relationship Building

    District Leaders Rate Social-Emotional as Important as Academic Skills

    In a national survey of school counselors and district staff, 72.5 percent of district leaders indicated that building students’ social-emotional skills is as important as academic knowledge. Counselors have a critical role in delivering social-emotional learning.

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