Beware the Iconography Trap of Personalized Learning: Rigor Matters

By Betheny Gross
October 3, 2016

In this thought-provoking article, Betheny Gross, Senior Analyst and Research Director at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), shares a key lesson learned from the organization’s multi-year, multi-method study to learn how school districts and regional partners can support the successful implementation, expansion, and sustainability of personalized learning. This article is the first in a series, Notes from the Field: Personalized Learning, which all detail early lessons and observations from this research.

This article describes several classrooms researchers observed in which students are participating in well-designed personalized learning experiences, but these classrooms are still missing the mark. The author raises the concern that it is easy for teachers and schools to embrace the iconography of personalized learning (student groupings, project-based learning, more choice in displaying knowledge, etc.) but lose sight of rigorous learning goals and content which are the drivers of student learning. She goes on to provide a few tips for teachers and administrators to help keep the focus on rigor. This article calls attention to a challenge for all teachers when doing the hard work of redesigning lessons, teaching styles, and assessments to become more student-centered.

Source Organization: Center on Reinventing Public Education

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