Making the Case: Compelling Data

This growing library features data points describing the impacts and outcomes of student-centered and competency-based teaching and learning. The data are sourced from research studies, evaluation reports and journal articles, as well as evidence collected directly by classroom, school, district and state leaders.

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    Assessment and Accountability

    Students Report Better Self-Regulate When Teachers Use Formative Assessment

    Students in 3rd-12th grades whose teachers participated in formative assessment training reported higher use of self-regulated learning strategies on surveys in 3 Arizona districts. There was also a small but statistically significant association between more frequent use of formative assessment practices and more use of self-regulated learning str

    Assessment and Accountability

    Teachers Not Using Most Impactful Assessment Strategies

    Based on a survey study of 3 Arizona districts, the formative assessment practices that were most strongly associated with reported positive self-regulation by students – self-assessment and peer feedback – were among the assessments teachers used least.

    Assessment and Accountability

    Peer and Self-Assessment Boosts Learning

    This meta-analysis of 175 independent studies involving 19,383 participants found that self-assessment (SA) and/or peer-assessment (PA) interventions had a significant positive overall effect on academic performance, as measured by grades and test-scores. There was no significant difference in effect between SA and PA.

    Assessment and Accountability

    Educators Report More Use of Formative Assessments

    Results of a 2022 national survey of educators showed, though summative assessments increased from 2021, teachers are adopting a more balanced approach to assessment. 81% of surveyed teachers used formative assessments in 2022, a 5% increase from 2021, and 78% used benchmark/interim assessments, a 20% increase.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Project-Based Learning Promises Gains in Social Studies and Science

    Looking at 20 studies on project-based learning, researchers found a positive effect on student learning in Social Studies and Science, and to a smaller degree, math and literacy. 

    Assessment and Accountability

    Project-Based Learning Increases Knowledge Transference

    In a study investigating the student-level impacts of high quality project-based activities 62% of students performed proficient or higher on a performance assessment requiring them to transfer knowledge to a new situation.

    Assessment and Accountability

    Accountability Systems Focused on Growth Promote Academic Performance

    Performance in schools with accountability systems that focused on state grade-level proficiency grew 7 percentile points, while those that operated under accountability systems that rewarded student growth (and prioritized individual student needs) grew 38 percentile points. 

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Project-Based Learning Increases Achievement in Elementary

    On average, in a study of 46 schools in Michigan, third graders participating in a project-based science curriculum performed eight percentage points better on the state science assessment as compared with students in the control group classrooms. The positive effect held across schools with different racial and ethnic makeup and household-incomes.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Project-Based Learning Increases Achievement in AP Courses

    Findings from the first year of the Knowledge in Action project-based learning approach revealed an increase in the likelihood of earning a score of three or higher on the AP U.S. Government or AP Environmental Science test by about eight percentage points.

    Assessment and Accountability

    Clarity of Learning Targets Positively Impacts Student Learning

    Several student learning capacities (e.g., intrinsic motivation, utility of math/ELA; locus of control, self-management and preparation for courses) were perceived by educators as positively impacted by increased clarity of learning targets in a competency-based system.

    Social-Emotional Learning

    Mastery-Based Strategies Bolster Intrinsic Motivation

    In an analysis of schools in three states, some competency-based education practices (e.g., clarity and required attainment of learning targets; use of multiple assessment types) were perceived as increasing students’ intrinsic motivation.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Students at Learner-Centered Schools See Greater ELA and Math Gains

    Students who started in the bottom quartile from Next Generation Learning Challenge schools demonstrated greater gains than students in a matched comparison group on the NWEA MAP English Language Arts and Math interim assessments after two years. 

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