Published Studies

In the fall of 2018, the Research Collaborative completed its first cycle of studies investigating the promise of student-centered approaches for improving outcomes for learners from all backgrounds, particularly those who have been marginalized or underserved by the current system. Research teams composing the first cycle researched competency-based education, student agency, personalization, collaboration, and networked improvement communities. Find information about each study, as well as final reports and resources for download, below!

Understanding Implementation of Proficiency-Based Education in Maine

Education Development Center

In 2012, Maine passed legislation requiring all students graduate from high school with a proficiency-based diploma. Although the terminology in Maine is proficiency rather than competency, the goals are the same: to ensure that students have the opportunity to progress as they demonstrate mastery of important content and skills. Education Development Center partnered with 10 districts in rural Maine to investigate exposure to proficiency-based education, including links to engagement and academic outcomes as well as the nature of implementation.

Funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

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Learning With Others: A Study Exploring the Relationship Between Collaboration, Personalization, and Equity

American Institutes for Research

The American Institutes of Research (AIR) explored collaboration as a strategy to personalize learning for diverse student groups. Focusing on grades 9-12, the study looked at connections between collaboration in student-centered learning classrooms and student outcomes and how these differed by race and ethnicity. Additionally, the study sought to understand from teachers how school contexts helped or hindered collaboration opportunities in diverse classrooms. Working with four high schools noted for their personalized learning approaches, AIR researchers collected in-depth data from students and teachers to understand these student outcomes and classroom contexts.

Funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

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Maximizing Student Agency: Implementation of Student-Centered Learning Approaches

American Institutes for Research

Working with New Tech Network schools, the research team at American Institutes for Research created multiple opportunities to design, test and revise teacher practices as part of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC). The NIC’s goal was to develop a menu effective teaching practices in support of student-centered learning geared towards student ownership of learning or agency. The study also looked at how student agency was related to academic outcomes and how these varied for students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation.

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Abolishing the phrase “I’m not a math person”

High Tech High Graduate School of Education

Partnering with middle and high schools from four districts, the research investigated how to improve student agency and learning outcomes in math—particularly for students from traditionally marginalized groups. With an improvement science framework, the collaborative tested, refined, and spread “high-leverage” practices that reframed mathematical struggle as learning and engaged students in collaborative problem-solving. They also worked with students to discuss how they thought about math and made visible the diverse ways problems can be solved and the relationship to a growth mindset.

Funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation.

Explore the Findings