Education Elements provides personalized learning services–consulting and platform tools–to  school districts. They recently released their third annual Impact Report, “Building Capacity for Personalized Learning and More,” examining the impact of personalized learning, competency-based learning and dynamic organizational design on districts across the country. Here are several highlights of what they found.

Personalized Learning

“As personalized learning grows in popularity, additional voices have emerged that point to the risks associated with it,” said Anthony Kim, Founder and CEO of Education Elements. “We are pleased to report that districts who are thoughtful about their implementations and focus on the needs of their communities see a positive impact year-after-year on not only student test scores, but also student engagement, teacher satisfaction and overall district effectiveness.”

On the NWEA MAP assessment (given 2-3 times per year), 36,000 students from five districts showed an average growth of 130% in reading and 122% in math, compared to nationally normed MAP growth targets. In one district, the number of students on target to be college and career ready as measured by the ACT Aspire exam more than doubled. This year’s analysis revealed the cumulative benefits of shifting to student-centered learning environments.

The report shares data from specific districts, highlighting the significant gains each has made, with a special focus on districts that have been implementing personalized learning for several years. Some examples include:

Middletown City School District, New York:

  • 65% of all Middletown K-8 students hit their reading growth targets, an increase of 21% since 2013-2014.
  • 67% hit their math growth targets, an increase of 23%.

Horry County Schools, South Carolina:

  • 57% of 6-8 students hit reading growth targets, an increase of 7% since 2013-2014.
  • 64% hit math growth targets, an increase of 17%.

Piedmont City School District, Alabama:

  • 72% of students in grades 3-8 tested on target in reading on the ACT compared to 28% in 2014-2015.
  • 55% tested on target in math compared to 35% in 2014-2015.

Competency-Based Learning

Education Elements also developed a CBE Framework to help district leaders focus on what really matters by breaking CBE planning down into actionable areas. Using this framework as a guide, they partnered with Digital Promise to document and share lessons learned on CBE from school districts across the country.

20 districts from the League of Innovative Schools collaborated to document their efforts to shift to CBE, and from there 10 districts provided deep reflections on their work to share with the education community at large. The result was a CBE Toolkit that includes each district’s rationale for moving to CBE, surprises and tradeoffs they’ve faced, considerations for other organizations and artifacts that show “what it looks like.”

Student Engagement & Teacher Efficacy

In addition to analyzing test scores, the report also measures the impact of personalized learning on districts across qualitative measures.

  • 92% of district leaders say that teachers are more effective
  • 90% of district leaders say that students are more engaged in their learning
  • 70% of teachers say they are confident that personalized learning has a positive effect on teaching and learning
  • 68% of teachers say that they feel more effective since they started personalized learning and 67% of teachers say that students are more engaged since they started personalized learning

“The most critical aspect is the alteration of the role of teacher and student from a stand and deliver methodology to the teacher as a facilitator empowering individualized student learning,” said Rich Hughes, Superintended of Central Valley, South Dakota.

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