RAND Report Unpacks Challenges and Caveats About Personalized Learning

Learning Research

RAND Report Unpacks Challenges and Caveats About Personalized Learning

Jul 11, 2017

PROBING PL: What does “personalized learning” look like, and how do we know it really works? A new study by RAND on 40 K-12 schools that received funding support from the NGLC initiative (backed by the Gates Foundation) explores the implementation challenges, student results and policy recommendations for school leaders, funders and policymakers.

Looking at achievement results during the 2014-15 school year, the authors found that students “experienced positive achievement effects in mathematics and reading, although the effects were only statistically significant in mathematics.”

Despite this finding, however, researchers refrained from drawing conclusions that personalized learning is easy, or effective, for all schools and districts. Among the challenges observed in the schools studied were “poor integration of data systems, tensions between competency-based practices and meeting grade-level standards, and the time needed to develop personalized lessons.”

“This may not work everywhere, and it requires careful thought about the context that enables it to work well,” John Pane, the lead author of the report, told Education Week.

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