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Innovation and Personalized Learning

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Most recent reform initiatives — from standards and accountability, to vouchers, to charter schools, to teacher evaluation — do little to change the underlying format of public education or of children’s day-to-day experiences in the classroom. Yet achieving dramatically better results for all students — particularly those facing the greatest challenges — will require fundamentally different and more efficient means of delivering education and engaging students.

Increasingly, schools, districts, and other education organizations are experimenting with new models that change how students access content and tailor learning to individual needs. Personalized learning models, for example, are designed to tailor instruction to a student’s skill level and learning style by using different learning modalities, flexible learning environments, and competency-based progression. These and other innovative models employ technology in new ways and change how teachers work with one another and with students.

Bellwether’s work seeks to identify, learn from, and support the growth of personalized learning and other innovative models. We conduct research to analyze the conditions, including public policy changes, that enable high-quality models to scale. Through our grant-funded field-facing publications, we aim to increase public dialogue around reimagining traditional forms of teaching and learning. We also work directly with schools, districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofit organizations seeking to develop, implement, scale, or evaluate innovative programs to improve student results. Our expertise in other education policy areas — including accountability, teacher evaluation, and charter schools — allows us to incorporate an understanding of broader K-12 trends into the advice we provide our clients.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

July 8, 2020
Rebecca Gifford Goldberg, Alison Fuller, Juliet Squire
Many charter schools and networks have demonstrated game-changing results for low-income students and students of color. And many are eager to extend...
June 16, 2020
Lina Bankert, Jeff Schulz, Rochelle Dalton, Alison Fuller, Liz McNamee
Postsecondary education dramatically increases the likelihood of employment and economic success. But many young people, especially those furthest...
September 17, 2019
Gwen Baker, Lauren Schwartze, Amy Chen Kulesa
Despite some gains over the past 20 years, significant numbers of students are not meeting grade-level expectations as defined by performance on...
July 30, 2019
Juliet Squire, Melissa Steel King, Justin Trinidad
In recent decades, tuition increases in independent schools have outpaced inflation and wage growth, while thousands of Catholic parochial schools —...
July 9, 2019
Bonnie O’Keefe , Brandon Lewis
In recent years, political and public pushback to state tests has led many states to retreat from investing in and innovating their assessment...

Op-Eds

May 19, 2020
Working with stakeholders around the country has made me certain only about uncertainty. The impact of COVID-19 in a few months or a few years seems...
January 23, 2020
Communities across the country are embroiled in charter school battles, from a D.C. debate about charters, data and transparency to the latest round...
January 2, 2020
The need for school choice for native families is urgent, with the potential to revive and protect native cultural identity.