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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Personalized Learning Increases Achievement Measured by Standardized Tests

    A study of high and low performing student-centered schools showed when personalized learning is implemented thoroughly, higher test scores result. 

    Whole Child and Relationship Building

    Small Groups and Flexibility Lead to Positive Learning Conditions

    Surveys and interviews with educators during COVID-19 indicated smaller groups and flexibility in shaping learning environments around students’ needs led to stronger relationships. 57% could better support social and emotional well-being in small groups.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Student Choice Increases Engagement in Reading

    This study of four 8th-grade teachers shows an increase in student agency when assigned reading was replaced with student-selected, self-paced choices. Peer relationships and classroom culture change as students become more engaged readers.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Showing Learning Through Video Bolsters Student Agency

    A study of innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic documents “Teach-Back” Tuesdays at a Dallas school. By sharing videos of themselves teaching academic content, students bolster their agency while demonstrating learning.

    School and Classroom Culture

    Principals Report Project-Based Learning Helps Students Meet Academic Standards

    In a large national survey, 80% of principals implementing schoolwide project-based learning feel it helps students meet academic standards. 90% report students can extend their learning from projects to other disciplines.

    Competency-Based Learning

    Mastery-Based Approach in Math Supports Self-Direction

    A study of innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic documents the move to a mastery-based math pathway across 2nd-5th grades. Students are responsible for charting and monitoring their own learning pathway to achieve mastery.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Interdisciplinary Inquiry-Based Projects Boost Student Engagement and Agency

    A study of innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic documents the development of inquiry-based projects in a Colorado district. Teachers participated at different levels based on comfort level and past experience but all saw increases in engagement and self-direction.

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