Differences in personalized learning practice and technology use in high- and low-performing learner-centered schools in the United States


School of Instructional Technology and Innovation

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The Every Student Succeeds Act supports personalized learning (PL) to close achievement gaps of diverse K-12 learners in the United States. Implementing PL into a classroom entails a paradigm change of the educational system. However, it is demanding to transform traditional practice into a personalized one under the pressure of the annual standardized testing while it is unclear which PL approaches are more likely to result in better academic outcomes than others. Using national survey data of ELA teachers in identified learner-centered schools, this study compared high and low-performing learner-centered schools (determined by their standardized test results) in terms of their use of five PL features (personalized learning plan, competency-based student progress, criterion-referenced assessment, project- or problem-based learning, and multi-year mentoring) and their use of technology for the four functions of planning, learning, assessment, and recordkeeping. Generally, teachers in high-performing schools implemented PL more thoroughly and utilized technology for more functions than those in low-performing schools. Teachers in high-performing schools more frequently considered career goals when creating personal learning plans, shared the project outcomes with the community, and assessed non-academic outcomes. They stayed longer with the same students and developed close relationships with more students. Also, they more frequently used technology for sharing resources and reported having a more powerful technology system than those in low-performing schools. This study informs educators, administrators, and researchers of which PL approaches and technology uses are more likely to result in better academic outcomes measured by standardized assessments.

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Educational technology research and development : ETR & D

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