New Analysis of Personalized Learning Programs Shows Reading Gains for Chicago Students
A recent analysis has shown that personalized learning programs in Chicago are having a significant impact on reading scores for students. The analysis found that these programs are boosting reading scores by an amount equivalent to 13 percentile points of growth.
The schools involved in the study, which included private, charter, and traditional public schools, are part of a Chicago cohort that has been working with LEAP Innovations. LEAP is a national organization focused on personalized learning and it has been pairing schools with education technology and coaches to help teachers individualize their instruction and redesign their classrooms.
This improvement in reading scores is not only beneficial for students, but also for LEAP’s work. This is the second cohort that LEAP has studied since its partnership with Chicago schools began in 2014. The first cohort showed a literacy growth equivalent to 6 percentile points, which is only half of what the 2015-16 cohort achieved.
Phyllis Lockett, the founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations, believes that this growth in scores can be attributed to the organization’s efforts to improve professional development for educators. LEAP works closely with schools to make their instruction more personalized, offering guidance on various aspects of teaching such as scheduling, using student data, and implementing best practices for student-driven learning.
However, LEAP still faces challenges when it comes to improving math scores. The personalized math instruction that was introduced to Chicago students did not lead to any improvement compared to their peers who did not use this technology. To address this, LEAP plans to collaborate with experts to develop effective math instruction strategies for teachers.
Juan Gutierrez, the principal of Patrick Henry Elementary, one of the schools involved in the study, has seen firsthand the positive impact of personalized learning technologies. Under this system, students have transitioned from being passive learners to active participants in their learning, making choices and taking on more responsibilities.
LEAP used data from the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress, the accountability test used in Chicago for grades 3-8, for this analysis. By using a quasi-experimental design called propensity score matching, the analysis compared students who used personalized learning tools with those who did not, taking into account factors such as race, poverty, and prior test scores.
In conclusion, personalized learning programs in Chicago are showing promising results in boosting reading scores for students. LEAP’s work with schools to individualize instruction and harness the potential of education technology has contributed to this improvement. However, more work needs to be done to improve math scores and LEAP plans to collaborate with experts to address this challenge.