Giving Compass' Take:

· Before it became a widespread trend, personalized learning was created by teachers as a new way to approach progress and help students succeed. The Hechinger Report explains how this handmade forerunner not only tracked student performance, but also acknowledged the individual differences in the ways students learn.

· Is personalized learning helping students master course content? How does it impact the way students learn? 

· Here's what we know about the successes and failures of personalized learning.

The idea was never to disregard the individual student.

Yet, over the past 25 years the official quest for educational progress has tightly molded itself around measurable content standards and achievement goals, making testing the single most powerful legacy of education reform in America.

That measurement mania has dominated what being in school feels like for students (and teachers), as well as what counts and what gets discussed. It glosses over the herky-jerky reality of learning and the nuanced practice of teaching. Which is what stirred teachers at Orchard Lake Elementary School in Minnesota back in 2011.

In what now looks prescient – years before the “personalized learning” craze ignited a new national interest in tailoring schooling with the student at its center – a group of teachers saw trouble with the lockstep approach to progress.

In most schools, “It is, ‘OK you are nine years old, you sit here for nine months and then you get to the next box,’ ” said Julene Oxton, one of the Lakeville Area Public School teachers who were bothered by the system. Test scores were fine, said Oxton, “but what was really happening down in the trenches was that not every kid was getting their needs met.”

Read the full article about personalized learning by Laura Pappano at The Hechinger Report.