States plan to support, expand personalized learning through ESSA implementation

KnowledgeWorks launches site that highlights emerging personalized learning ideas in state ESSA plans before the April 3 deadline

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

The first federal deadline for Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan submissions is quickly approaching, and a new KnowledgeWorks tool gives a comprehensive look at the ideas states are considering to personalize learning for their students.

A Nationwide Look at State Strategies to Advance Personalized Learning, highlights the strategies that states are exploring in their draft ESSA plans to increase personalized learning opportunities for students. States are finalizing draft plans to submit to the United States Department of Education (USED) either on April 3, 2017 or Sept. 18, 2017.

“With this new resource, we aim to highlight states’ leadership in creating high-quality education systems that provide innovative and flexible learning opportunities,” KnowledgeWorks Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Williams said. “We hope to help stakeholders identify and better understand the benefits of diverse approaches to personalized learning. Ideally, this resource will help open the door to a robust conversation among stakeholders and states.”

Roughly one-third of states have released public drafts of their plans for ESSA implementation. Despite the change in administration, the timelines for ESSA submission have remained the same. States are moving forward with their drafting process in anticipation of implementing the new law during the 2017-18 school year. States with public drafts are busy engaging educators, advocates and community members for feedback on their plans before submitting to USED.

KnowledgeWorks has read through these public drafts, pulling out ideas that align with a shift to a personalized approach to education. The site includes a map with pop-up information boxes for each state. The insights shared include:

  • Long-term goals
  • Assessments
  • Accountability
  • School improvement
  • Supporting excellent educators
  • Supporting all students

“We are encouraged to see such an incredible commitment in the planning stage to leverage the flexibilities in ESSA to expand personalized learning opportunities for all students,” Lillian Pace, vice president of policy and advocacy, said. “While many of these ideas are new, and will require some fine tuning, overall we are pleased to see increased energy in designing education systems around the needs and interests of students.”

KnowledgeWorks will continue to update the map as states post new or updated drafts for public comment, submit plans to USED, and receive federal approval.

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.