KnowledgeWorks Maps Emerging Personalized Learning Trends in State ESSA Plans

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

State leaders across the country are taking advantage of opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to create more flexible, personalized learning environments for their students. Extensive research from KnowledgeWorks reveals that 17 states incorporate personalized learning into their vision for ESSA implementation. 25 states will use scale scores or performance indices in their accountability systems to incentivize improved performance for each student regardless of whether they score below or above proficient on state assessments. 11 states will prioritize personalized learning strategies for supporting schools identified for improvement.

The commitment to personalize learning doesn’t stop with students: 10 states plan to explore the development of a statewide system to personalize and enhance professional development for educators.

Data like this comes from Personalized Learning and the Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Emerging Trends for Personalized Learning in State ESSA Plans©, a new dashboard and research publication released today by KnowledgeWorks that indicates strong commitment from states to advance policies that support personalized learning.

“Our research provides strong evidence that personalized learning is more than a passing fad, it has become a compelling solution for closing achievement gaps,” said Lillian Pace, vice president of policy and advocacy for KnowledgeWorks. “Nearly every state in the nation leveraged the opportunity of ESSA to advance policies that ensure more students benefit from personalized learning experiences.”

Over the past year, states have engaged in conversations to explore the unique possibilities of personalization under ESSA and developed plans for implementation of the new law. Personalized Learning and the Every Student Succeeds: Mapping Emerging Trends for Personalized Learning in State ESSA Plans highlights the trends that have emerged during KnowledgeWorks’ review of ESSA plans from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The resource also features a quantitative dashboard to provide readers insight into the national movement for personalized learning.

The publication analyzes policy trends across all ESSA plans in five key areas, including:

  • State Vision
  • Accountability Systems
  • School Support and Improvement
  • Supporting Excellent Educators
  • Supporting all Students

The paper also reveals a set of key values that appeared consistently across ESSA plans as justification for why states chose personalized strategies for teaching and learning. Collectively, the paper along with the dashboard will provide readers with an understanding of a variety of issues driving state conversation about personalized education for student success.

“The transition to personalized learning is no small task, and while early momentum is encouraging, significant work remains to help states scale individual strategies into cohesive high-quality learning systems,” said Pace. “This is an opportunity for KnowledgeWorks, along with other leaders and educators who believe in personalized learning, to advocate that this work is carried forward in a high-quality way.”

For detailed information on the personalized learning elements of each state’s ESSA plan, visit KnowledgeWorks’ complete data set: State-by-State Strategies for Advancing Personalized Learning Under ESSA.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.