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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    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. 

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Competency-Based District Sees Reading and Math Gains

    In the performance-based Lindsay Unified School District in California, student growth in the Smarter Balance Assessment increased by 7% in English/Language Arts and 5% in math, exceeding county and state growth in 2019.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    California School Sees Math Achievement Gains

    In the performance-based Lindsay Unified School District in California, students rose from 14th to 38th percentile in the state’s math assessment in 2019, when comparing all Unified School Districts in California.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    California District Sees Growth on ELA Assessments

    In the performance-based Lindsay Unified School District in California, students rose from 15th to 51st percentile in 2019 in the state’s English Language Arts assessment, when comparing all Unified School Districts in California.

    School and Classroom Culture

    Student-Centered Redesign Empowers Kansas Teachers

    In the Kansas student-centered and future-focused redesign effort, more than 90% of the nearly 2,400 school and community respondents agreed that their schools encourage and support risk-taking with new instructional strategies and that their school and district leadership empower teachers to share ownership in their redesign process.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Personalized Learning Bolsters Reading and Math Scores

    Students participating in schools using personalized learning approaches had modest gains in reading and math scores over peers in other schools, and researchers found these benefits held for students of all ability levels.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Mastery-Based Approach Helps Students Catch Up

    In the competency-based system studied, 43% – 47% of students who were behind their traditional grade levels completed their performance levels in three or fewer quarters, less time than it would take in a traditional education system.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Student Choice Has Biggest Impact

    Effects of competency-based models on student learning appeared most positive in programs that put primary emphasis on student choice with project-based learning. 

    Assessment and Accountability

    Nontraditional Assessments Build Intrinsic Motivation

    Having access to nontraditional assessments as part of a competency-based setting was positively associated with intrinsic motivation.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Flexible Pacing Builds Self-Direction in Math

    The option of extra time to finish a topic or unit and the opportunity to retake an exam or redo a final project in mathematics were associated with favorable changes in students’ self-efficacy in mathematics.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Personalized Learning Results in Math and Reading Gains

    Students in schools using personalized learning practices are making greater student achievement gains in math and reading over the course of two school years and students who started out behind are now catching up.