Personalized Learning Study called “Promising” but claims diminished by limited evidence, weak generalizability 

BOULDER, CO (January 26, 2015) – A recent report from the RAND Corporation explores three school-wide initiatives funded by the Gates Foundation to promote personalized learning. The report includes many strengths, but a review explains that the study provides little support for the evidence about personalized learning to be described as “promising” for all students.

William R. Penuel, Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development, and doctoral candidate Raymond Johnson, both at the University of Colorado Boulder, reviewed Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning for the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project at the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education.

Personalized learning encompasses a range of strategies, from developing learner profiles with individualized goals using data to providing personalized learning paths, in which students have choice, get individualized support, and engage in learning outside school. Accordingly, the term personalized learning can mean many different things. In this report, RAND researchers organized personalized learning according to five different strategies:

  1. Learner profiles with individualized goals using data from multiple sources that students and teachers both access,
  2. Personalized learning paths, in which students have choice, get individualized support, and engage in learning outside school,
  3. Competency-based progression,
  4. Flexible use of time, space, and technology, and
  5. Developing academic and non-academic career and college readiness skills.

The researchers found evidence for the promise of personalized learning, and they based this conclusion on analyses comparing achievement data from students in 62 schools implementing personalized learning with students in a matched “virtual comparison group.” Specifically, they found that implementing personalized learning approaches was associated with higher scores on a common assessment.

The reviewers pointed out, however, that two of the factors associated with positive learning gains—student grouping and making flexible use of learning spaces—do little to distinguish these schools from many other schools that may not claim to be implementing personalized learning. In fact, only the practice of engaging students in analyzing their own data showed a consistent relationship to positive outcomes.

More broadly, the study lacked… — follow the link below to continue reading…

Source: Personalized Learning Study’s “Promising” Claims Diminished by Limited Evidence and Weak Generalizability | National Education Policy Center

CURMUDGUCATION reblog – Vouchers: Why Do Conservatives Love ‘Em?

Vouchers: Why Do Conservatives Love ‘Em?

Posted: 25 Jan 2016 05:31 PM PST

If the plaintiffs in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers (or the people for whom they’re sock puppeting) don’t like paying union fees (they already don’t have to pay dues) because the union will spend their money on activities with which they do not agree, boy, they would really hate school vouchers.

The rhetoric of pro-voucher folks (who at this point are the most long-twitching of the various undead unsuccessful reformster species) is to frame the decision about those tax dollars in a very specific way. “These tax dollars belong to the students and their families, not the bureaucracy of government schools” or some equivalent is the usual construction. This money belongs to the deserving child, not the money-grubbing public school system. It’s a clear choice. And it’s a false choice.

The tax dollars associated with public schools belong to neither the child nor the school system.

Those tax dollars belong to the tax payers.

The foundation of public education is pretty simple. “Hey,” said the members of various communities. “Let’s put some money together and get the kids an education, because if they grow up stupid, we’ll have to live with and depend on a bunch of stupid adults, and that seems like a bad idea.”

Oh, “and we’ll elect some of us to keep an eye on the school and the money we pooled to run it.”

In fact, one the weird things about voucher-choice systems pushed by conservatives is how very un-conservative these concepts are.

Those communities did not say, “Let’s collect a bunch of money, give it to the parents, and they can spend it on their kids however they like.” That would be another entitlement, and conservatives are not huge fans of the E word. In fact, conservatives have been pretty vocally unfriendly to the idea of “free” college for any who want to attend, because it would just be another entitlement by which students would feel entitled to attend college paid for by tax dollars ripped from the public’s wallets.

But how is a voucher-choice system anything other than an entitlement for children to attend private school with tax dollars ripped from public wallets?

Conservatives also dislike it when publicly funded universities use public tax dollars to pay professors who say things with which some conservative taxpayers deeply disagree. How is a voucher-choice system any different– particularly in a place like Ohio where I can set up a charter based in Sharia Law or White Supremacy or Flat Earth Cosmology?

Because one thing is certain under a voucher-choice system– taxpayers without school age children have no voice in how education is managed in their community. Yes, public schools can make choices that the taxpayers hate– and then the taxpayers can come tell the elected school board how much they hate those choices, and the taxpayers can replace the board members with more amenable ones. In a voucher-choice system, if you have no child, you have no voice.

Conservative support for vouchers continues to mystify me. It’s a new entitlement. It’s taxation without representation. It’s also expensive– because as the public system loses money through vouchers, they have no choice but to raise taxes. Okay, that’s not entirely true– a community with a large majority of childless taxpayers could elect a board that gives everybody a huge tax cut and tells the voucherfied system, “Screw you. Go find the money for schools somewhere else.” And then the system would either collapse or need a government bailout.

So tell me again why conservatives love vouchers and choice?

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Vouchers: Why Do Conservatives Love ‘Em?