The achievement findings in this report focus on 62 public charter and district schools that are pursuing a variety of personalized learning practices. All of the schools received funding from the Gates Foundation, either directly or through intermediary organizations, to implement personalized learning practices as part of at least one of the following three foundation-supported initiatives: Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), Charter School Growth Fund’s Next Generation School Investments, and the Gates Foundation’s Personalized Learning Pilots.
Each of the schools was selected to participate in these initiatives through a competitive process, which included a rigorous evaluation of its leadership team and its instructional vision. The implementation findings focus on 32 NGLC schools that implemented personalized learning models and administered the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) mathematics and reading assessments during the 2014–15 school year.
The schools are located predominantly in urban areas with the exception of two rural schools. They tend to serve large numbers of minority students from low-income families. According to information provided by administrators, the school-level median of students of color is 75 percent, and the school-level median of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch is 80 percent. The concept of personalized learning has been around for some time, but the adoption of personalized learning approaches has increased significantly in recent years due in part to rapid advances in technology platforms and digital content.