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Why Personalize Learning? To Help Students Succeed and Thrive in an Uncertain Future

Change is happening all around us. Demographics are shifting, technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and our economy and workplaces are changing. For today’s students to be competitive in tomorrow’s workforce, they will need to have core academic knowledge and strong social emotional skills, creativity and the ability to partner with other people as well as machines.

Rapid change requires a new look at what it means to be college and career ready

Based on recent research completed by KnowledgeWorks on the skills individuals will need for careers in 2040 and beyond, core social-emotional skills like emotional regulation, empathy and self-knowledge will be critical to help students succeed in a future that looks very different from today.

What will it mean to be career ready in 2040? Read The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out.
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The traditional approach to education is inadequate

Most students in our country experience the same education system their parents experienced. While there may be some accommodation of student interests and learning styles, everyone advances at a similar pace regardless of level of mastery or the need for additional time.

Despite record graduation rates now at 84%, a deeper look at post-secondary readiness reveals that graduates of our current education system face significant gaps in knowledge and skills.

When taking the ACT, 26 percent of students nationally met college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects assessed. 34 percent met zero benchmarks.
6 percent of African American and 14 percent of Hispanic students met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks, as compared to 34 percent of white students tested. These students were also more likely to need remedial courses.
According to the National Conference on State Legislators, 28-40 percent of all first-time undergraduates enroll in at least one remedial course. Less than 50 percent of students complete their remedial courses.

Source: National ACT

A personalized learning education system can help students succeed through education equity

By designing learning around personalized mastery of transparent and challenging academic targets, educators can ensure every student is prepared. In a personalized, competency-based learning environment, learning is focused on:

  • Equal opportunity: All students are challenged to master and grow beyond the same, transparent learning targets, with flexibility for how they demonstrate what they learn.
  • Preparing students for an uncertain future: Students develop the skills they need to become self-advocates and create their own paths in the future.
  • Developing the whole child: In addition to academic growth, personalized learning develops each child’s social, emotional, mental and physical needs.
  • Empowering individuals to reach their potential: By helping students to develop individual ownership of learning, they are encouraged to explore their strengths and interests, and get the support they need to set and achieve personal goals.

How can teachers realistically personalize learning for every student?