Evidence for Student-Centered Learning

Report · January 2018 · By Krista Kaput

For the past 35 years, the prevailing narrative about America's public education system is that it is "broken." Reform efforts have failed to find a fix because they fundamentally misunderstand this reality: the system is not broken. It is doing exactly what it was designed to do—educate the masses in a standardized fashion that completely disregards who students are as individuals.

In this report, author Krista Kaput makes the case for student-centered learning, a schooling design that shifts the model from adult-centered and standardized to student-centric and individualized. Specifically, the learning is personalized to the students’ interests, learning styles, cultural identities, life experiences, and personal challenges.

Drawing from a wide array of research, Kaput examines the history and current context of student-centered learning, and outlines seven principles of student-centered learning with examples of how they look in practice. When these principles are realized, Kaput argues that the result is learning that is equitable, relevant, and rigorous.

To “fix” public education so all students can be successful and have their unique needs met, we must change the design of the system.

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