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Aurora Institute

New Report Highlights State Policy Opportunities Under the Every Student Succeeds Act for Personalized Learning

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Susan Patrick, Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Susan Gentz

Issue(s): Federal Policy, Harness Opportunities in ESSA, Design for Educational Equity

Meeting ESSA's PromiseToday, iNACOL published a new report, Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning. The report provides state policy recommendations to realize the promise of the historic opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to transform K-12 education to meet the unique needs of each student.

ESSA shifts greater power over K-12 education back to the states. It creates space for systems of assessments aligned to student-centered learning, for next generation accountability models and to modernize educator preparation and development systems.

The new law represents a marked shift from federal control to state control. It presents state and local stakeholders with an important opportunity to redefine student success and the goals of our nation’s education systems, to close learning gaps and address inequities with personalized, competency-based education.

ESSA makes it possible for states to pursue a more comprehensive policy approach to support personalization at scale.

Innovation for Equity—Meeting the Needs of Every Student

Personalized, competency-based education models are critical for raising achievement for all. Research studies on these new learning models are revealing promising results.

A recent study from the American Institutes for Research found that the clear learning targets and opportunities to earn credit beyond the classroom in competency-based education were related to an increase in students’ intrinsic motivation. Research from the RAND Corporation found that personalized learning approaches helped students, especially those who were lowest performing, make substantial learning gains relative to their peers.

Student-centered learning ensures all students are held to the same high, world-class standards and are provided the resources and supports to achieve those standards. It allows students to build a strong foundation for success by demonstrating mastery before advancing to the next level.

If we truly want to prepare every student for success, equity must be the primary goal for policymakers and educators, bringing all students to the highest achievement levels through coherent systems and policies that foster innovation for equity. Personalized, competency-based learning models should be organized to promote universal attainment of deeper learning outcomes and be very intentional about keeping all students on track.

iNACOL State Policy Frameworks

Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning provides concrete, actionable recommendations for state policymakers to create system-wide transformation through personalized, competency-based learning.

The following graphic highlights the state policy opportunities to support local efforts to close learning gaps and address inequities with student-centered learning:

Taken as a whole, the recommendations present a comprehensive state policy approach to transforming K-12 education. Such an approach will ensure every student can access powerful, personalized learning opportunities in order to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies they will need to be successful.

We encourage state leaders to develop and advance a coordinated set of these recommendations in a way that best meets the needs of students in their state.

Download the report Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning, and share with your colleagues and peers.

This blog post is part of a series of articles to highlight state policy recommendations to create a foundation for sustainable, systemic change that will dramatically increase personalized, competency-based learning opportunities for all students.

Learn More:
iNACOL State Policy Frameworks Blog Series