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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    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Feedback for Growth Builds Deep Learning in Math

    In 2022, 100 teachers in Yonkers worked to improve the quality of feedback to students focused on growth, a research-backed strategy to deepen math learning and close performance gaps. Surveys of 3,458 middle schoolers showed in just 4 months, students experienced 10% growth of strong teacher feedback in 2 schools and 6-7% growth in 4 more schools.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Students Report Learner-centered Design Principles Foster 21st-century Skills

    A design-based research study of 1,000 learner reflections from 75 online higher education courses found students credited learner-centered design principles including student choice, relevance and creativity with the development of 21st-century skills, especially oral and written communication and critical thinking.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Attendance Higher at ND Personalized, Competency-based Schools

    A five-year evaluation of the North Dakota Personalized, Competency-Based Learning Initiative showed a small but significant impact on attendance. 4-5th and 9-12th graders’ rates were 1 percentage point or 2 school days higher than matched peers at non-personalized schools, and 6-8th graders' rates were 2 percentage points, or 4 days, higher.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Project-Based Science Increases Scores in ELA

    A study of a middle school project-based science curriculum showed on average students performed higher than a matched comparison group on state English Language Arts (ELA) assessments by eight percentage points in year two and ten in year three.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Project-Based Science Increases Scores in Math

    A study of a middle school project-based science curriculum showed on average students performed higher than a matched comparison group on state math assessments by 12 percentage points in year two and 18 percentage points in year three.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Student-centered Instruction Builds Feelings of College Readiness

    Students at three student-centered, career-focused schools reported development of personal and social skills needed for career and college-readiness. Of 17 students interviewed, 15 (88%) noted instructional practices like advisory, autobiography writing and presentations fostered the self-awareness, confidence and communication needed for college.

    Career and Technical Education

    Project-based Learning Builds Creativity and Entrepreneurship Competency

    A qualitative study of a maker program in Hong Kong focused on real-world problem solving found the school's approach led to increases in 4 dimensions of creativity (novelty, utility, aesthetics and authenticity) and 3 areas of entrepreneurship (ideas and opportunities, resources and action).

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Personalized Math Program Builds Skills

    In a randomized control study of a supplemental mastery-based personalized math learning program, kindergarten students from 20 California classrooms, in which 100% of students qualified for free and reduced lunch, outperformed the control group on the Test of Early Mathematics Ability by 5.71 percentage points after using the program for 5 hours.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    CT School Increases Latinx Student Enrollment in AP Through Personalized Supports

    Maloney High School saw the number of Latinx students enrolled in advanced courses rise from 50% in 2015-16 to 82.5% in 2020-21. To make this shift, they employed student-centered approaches – including student interest surveys, personalized course recommendations, more communication with families and academic supports like AP study sessions.

    Career and Technical Education

    Community Connections in Oakland Prepare Students for Future

    Students at Latitude High prepare for careers through real-world projects, career exploration and Extended Learning Opportunities in the Oakland Community. Despite disruptions from COVID, 44% completed outside internships in 2022. And 92% reported feeling prepared for the future on a XQ Institute survey of seniors.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Collaborative Project-based Learning Prepares Students for Future

    A 2022 survey showed 97% of students felt prepared for the future after attending Iowa BIG, a program where students design community-based projects while also enrolled in their home school. 90% credited the collaboration skills gained there as a key reason.

    Career and Technical Education

    Project-based Learning Supports Traditionally Underserved Students at IN STEM School

    Black, Latino and low-income students at Purdue Polytechnic High Schools, a IN network committed to individualized project-based learning to increase students attending college in STEM fields, were more likely to pass state exams than their peers in the district. All these groups had passing rates 4 times others in Indianapolis Public Schools.