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

    Learning-by-Teaching Improves Learning Across Content Areas

    A meta-analysis of learning-by-teaching, a student-centered strategy for learning content, found the creation of materials to teach peers improved learning outcomes. The positive effect of 0.17 was statistically significant and held across different educational levels and content areas.

    Curriculum and Instruction

    Creating Audio-Visual Materials for Peers Bolsters Learning

    A meta-analysis of 62 comparisons from 23 articles concluded that creating teaching materials for peers has a positive effect on student learning, compared to alternative or no interventions. This effect was largest when students created audio-visual versus text-based materials.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Partnership in Meaningful Research Bolsters Student Agency

    A Vermont high school teacher’s dissertation showed students exhibited higher levels of agency after participation in a Youth Action Research Project. They reported they felt heard, effectively represented other students and contributed to meaningful change. They could  describe the impact of growing adult-student partnerships on their agency.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Teachers See Self-Direction as Key to Student Engagement

    In a recent poll of fourth to twelfth  grade teachers across the country, a lack of skills to self-direct the learning process was ranked second of all the reasons students may not be engaged, with 63% of teachers selecting it.

    Real-World and Career

    Teachers Say Relevance is Key to Student Engagement

    Surveyed teachers ranked several student-centered strategies among the top five ways to improve student engagement. Strategies marked "highly effective" included: connecting learning to real-world skills (72%); leveraging students’ personal interests and passions within learning (65%); and incorporating active, hands-on learning experiences (64%)

    Student Agency and Voice

    Relevance with Rigor Boosts Learning

    In a large survey, 97% of students who reported positive experiences with relevance, rigor, customization and high expectations also indicated they learned a lot in school. In comparison, of the students who did not have positive experiences in all four areas, only 58% reported high levels of learning.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Fostering Student Voice Leads to Academic Growth

    A network of 16 NYC schools working to better support Black and Latino youth reported academic gains after working to solicit student input and foster a culture of belonging. In 2021-22, 62% of students in the network met their growth goals on either iReady or NWEA’s Map Growth assessment, compared with a 50% national average.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Relevance Increases Engagement and Focus in New England Schools

    In interviews, educators at several New England high schools implementing student-centered learning practices reported students were more engaged and focused on their work when learning felt relevant because they had a say in the choice of content and methods of learning.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Most Students Do Not Feel Their Learning is Relevant

    Analysis of surveys focused on student experience showed most do not feel their learning is relevant. Of the over 20,000 students surveyed, only 31% reported feeling their learning is connected to the world outside of school, and only 29% said they were learning about topics of interest to them.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Most Students Feel Little Control Over Their Learning

    A broad array of learning communities surveyed over 20,000 students about their experiences and found most do not feel they have control over their education. Only 29% reported feeling they have a say in what happens to them at school and only 31% said they can choose how they do their work.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Educators Feel Engagement Best Indicator of Success

    A 2022 national survey of changing educator and parent views showed 94% of educators think student engagement is the most important metric of student success, following a similar trend of 92% for the 2021 survey.

    Student Agency and Voice

    Student Do Not Feel Represented in School Decision-Making

    In a nationally representative sample of 1,000 8-12th grade students surveyed after the 2021-22 school year, only 28% felt student opinions are represented “a great deal” in major decisions and policy considerations at their school, with numbers much lower for district, state and federal decisions.