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.

    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.

    Whole Child and Relationship Building

    Social-Emotional Factors Play a Role in Student Engagement

    The top five factors influencing student engagement all focus on the whole child. Creativity and self-expression was ranked highest, with 85% indicating a positive impact on engagement. Whole child factors ranked higher than factors like academic growth.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Tailoring Learning to Student Interest Increases Motivation

    In a study of differences in teacher practice and technology use in student-centered schools, high-performing schools more frequently included students’ career goals and interests in personalized learning plans, increasing student motivation. The difference was statistically significant.

    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

    Flexible Scheduling Block Supports Student Choice and Differentiation

    A study of innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic documents the use of a flexible daily WIN (What I Need) block at a Massachusetts high school. Students can choose activities ranging from targeted academic supports to clubs.

    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.

    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.

    Flexible Learning

    Students Report that Tech Increases Self-Directed Learning

    In national surveys, students report that technology helps them direct their own learning, with over half indicating tech helps them learn at their own pace and control their own learning process.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Student Goal-Setting Shows Promising Evidence

    This research brief examines the research base for goal-setting, including its role in self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. It indicates promising evidence (as defined by the US Department of Education) of impact on academic outcomes and deeper learning.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Comprehensive Student Advising Shows Promising Evidence

    This research brief examines the research base for comprehensive student advising, looking at the ways it fosters relationships, social capital and student agency. It concludes there is promising evidence of impact (as defined by the US Department of Education).

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