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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    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.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Under-credited Youth in Boston Graduate with Personalized Approach

    Students at Boston Day and Evening Academy (BDEA) – a personalized, competency-based school for over-age and under-credited youth – enter at an average age of 17.6 with 5 or fewer high school credits. Despite previous setbacks, students who attend BDEA at least half of the time, finish an average of 5 courses per year and graduate in 2.9 years.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Personalized Alternative Program Drives Graduation Gains in MA District

    Holyoke Public Schools reduced dropouts and increased graduation from 62% in 2015 to 72% in 2019, with larger jumps for English Language Learners, students with disabilities and Latinx students. Gains were driven by a successful alternative program offering a variety of personalized programs including mastery and project-based learning options.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Most DC Black Female Students Passing AP from One Student-centered Tech School

    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 2 and 18 percentage points in Year 3 and on the ELA assessment by 8 percentage points in Year 2 and 10 in Year 3.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Student-Centered Approach in DC Serves Students Underrepresented in the Sciences

    90% of the Black students who passed the 2019 Advanced Placement computer science exam in the entire city of Washington DC attended Washington Leadership Academy, a school using student-centered practices to support students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences (20 out of 22 students).

    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.

    Career and Technical Education

    Project-based School in IN Outperforms District

    Students at Purdue Polytechnic High Schools, a network in Indianapolis committed to individualized project-based learning to increase students attending college in STEM fields, performed better on state assessments than other district students. In 2021, 11th graders were four times as likely to pass both the math and ELA sections (34% vs. 8%).

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Community Connections Bring High Graduation Rates in TN School

    In 2022, Elizabethton High, a school in rural TN transforming through project-based learning and community-connections, had a 93% graduation rate, 10% higher than other high schools in their county. This included students from low-income families and students with disabilities.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    12% Rise in Postsecondary Enrollment After Personalized, Competency-based Learning Implemented

    Following full-scale implementation of a proficiency-based system in 2011, a Maine high school's postsecondary enrollment increased to 71% by 2018, up from an average rate of 59% over the 10 years prior to the district’s shift to personalized, competency-based learning.

    Impact and Academic Outcomes

    Innovative Schools Hold Steady on Traditional Outcome Measures

    A report analyzing 251 innovative schools’ approach to documentation of impact found that in states where comparison was possible, no negative effect on traditional measures such as state test performance. It also documented the high value these schools place on outcomes that are difficult to measure like deeper learning and sense of belonging.

    Career and Technical Education

    NC Students from Early College High School Earn More Associate Degrees

    An experimental study analyzing data from 4,000 North Carolina students showed those randomly selected to attend early college high schools were three times more likely to earn an associate degree than those who did not attend (32.8% versus 11%). Higher numbers earning associate degrees did not decrease bachelor's degree attainment.

    Career and Technical Education

    Early College High Schools Lead to Higher Postsecondary Attainment

    A 14-year, experimental study found North Carolina students who attended early college high schools were more likely to have earned some kind of postsecondary credential after six years than those not in early college. 44.3% earned degrees, compared to 33.0% of the control group.