How do we make sure that the education we’re providing today’s students equips them with the skills they will need for the world of work and life of tomorrow? Competency-based, personalized learning.
KnowledgeWorks has invested in this approach to education because it’s what works for students. A new research study from RAND Corporation has explored the efficacy of personalized learning and we’re excited about the findings.
A practical guide for scaling personalizing learning across a district
The authors of “Informing Progress” note that early positive indicators about the success of personalized learning have increased enthusiasm about scaling it district-wide. They make data-based recommendations to district and school leaders about effectively implementing personalized learning. These reflect lessons that we have gleaned from our own partnerships in implementing the model and incorporated into our guide for school districts looking to scale personalized learning:
Leaders must provide clear expectations and parameters for their staff and then give them the space and trust necessary to implement what is best for their students
Districts should offer job-embedded professional development programs that align with the district’s vision for teaching and learning and to student needs
Districts need comprehensive data systems consisting of learning management, assessment and student information systems so that teachers can provide the necessary supports for students
Build a culture that is supportive of teachers, continuous improvement and doing what is right for students
Through our work with districts leading the way in personalized learning across the country, we’ve learned that there are a few critical areas districts need to focus on to overcome barriers to district-wide change: vision alignment, community culture and transparent communications practices. When the authors of “Informing Progress” recommend that districts “provide teachers with time and resources to collaborate on developing curriculum and on reviewing and scoring student work,” they are getting to that supportive culture.
Supporting teachers to find out what is best for their students, in partnership with their students, not only helps students own their own learning, but also empowers teachers. In Marysville, Ohio, teachers like Erin Morrison are partnering with students to build standard operating procedures for the classroom and creating unique opportunities for student voice.
Learn more about personalized learning at the policy, district and school level
“Informing Progress” is an important addition to the body of knowledge around personalized learning and provides a starting point for data-based discussions about how to further improve and scale this model so that more students have access to the education they deserve.
Get more information about scaling competency-based, personalized learning:
Judy Peppler is President and Chief Executive Officer of KnowledgeWorks, leading the social enterprise that is working across the United States to improve the numbers of students who graduate ready for college or career.