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Does Personalized Learning Work?

March 25, 2019 The 74

By: Beth Hawkins

Hear that? It’s the sound of personalized learning cracking under the pressure.

Exhibit A: Recent headlines concerning two hotly anticipated studies of the middle school math program Teach to One. The first study, a federally funded look at five schools using the personalized learning model in Elizabeth, New Jersey, found it had no significant impact.

The second, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found strong growth in math in 14 schools throughout the country using the program but could not correlate the greater gains to Teach to One.

Given the hype — positive and negative — surrounding personalized learning, interest in anything that might validate or deflate the model’s potential is intense. And at first blush, the headlines that topped stories about the studies seemed to deliver verdicts: One “cast doubt” on Teach to One’s utility, while another declared it had “no effect” on math scores.

Read deeper, though, and it turns out that the studies did not in fact find the program ineffective. And that disconnect, say experts, illustrates a frustrating reality: Research on personalized learning is too scant, too new and too nuanced to provide the kind of thumbs-up, thumbs-down statements longed for by education watchers.

Read the full article here.