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Personalized, Competency-Based Learning in Arizona

Began in September 2023

Research for Action joined forces with KnowledgeWorks to examine personalized, competency-based learning in Arizona school districts. The goals were to deepen the data collection and analysis already underway through the development of summative implementation and outcomes analyses and case studies of a cohort of school districts in Arizona.

The summative implementation and outcomes analyses were completed in three strands:

Strand 1 – Exploratory analyses of personalized, competency-based learning implementation: Using the student and staff implementation survey data, RFA conducted descriptive analyses to assess the progress of personalized, competency-based learning implementation over time in each participating district.

Strand 2 – Student outcomes analyses: Using administrative data sources from the Arizona Department of Education, RFA conducted a school-level comparative interrupted time series (CITS) analysis to examine the impact of personalized, competency-based learning on student behavior and select academic outcomes, comparing indicators from schools in the four treatment districts with similar schools in non-treatment districts.

Strand 3 – Exploring relationships between implementation and student outcomes: RFA is conducting exploratory analyses to determine whether and how variation in implementation at the school and district levels (Strand 1) is related to impacts on student outcomes (Strand 2).

In addition, RFA documented and analyzed the implementation of and perspectives on personalized, competency-based learning in a sample of two high-implementing schools in Arizona through the development of case studies. In consultation with KnowledgeWorks, RFA selected two sample schools – one in Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District and the other in Yuma Union High School District, as the focus of the individual case studies.

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