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How Do Kids Prefer to Learn? New Data from Compass Learning® Show Diversity of Preferences

By Abi Mandelbaum
November 11th, 2014

Study provides insights to help educators more effectively work with students

Austin, TX (November 11, 2014)—Compass Learning, a leader in learning acceleration, released the results of a study exploring the learning preferences of more than 100,000 K-12 students in the United States. The data show that students’ learning needs have become increasingly more diverse over the past five years and, as a result, teachers face greater challenges individualizing instruction to accelerate student growth.

Compass Learning collected data from students using the Renzulli Learning® Student Profiler™, which provides an accurate, comprehensive breakdown of an individual student’s interests, learning styles and expression styles. Overall results were analyzed by gender and grade level trends. Important findings include:

o Math, science, and technology all grew over the past five years as primary interests for students, regardless of gender.
o Math increased by almost 3 percent from the past five years.
o Science increased from 4.8 percent to 5.6 percent.
o Technology grew to 11.8 percent.
o Technology is the top learning preference across all grades.
o Preferred by 24.7 percent of females, 33 percent of males, and 28.6 percent in total.
o Human interaction cannot be discounted, as an inclination toward peer tutoring, group work, and discussion comprises close to 40 percent of all students’ top learning preferences.
o Expression styles change as students age.
o Among third-graders, 50 percent rank audio-visual display first for expression.
o By 11th grade, only 7 percent of students prefer audio-visual as a way to express themselves.
o Gender “stereotypes” are reinforced through students’ interests.
o 36 percent of males indicated athletics as a primary interest against 13.2 percent of females.
o The majority of females (17.5 percent) cite reading as a primary interest compared to only 9.3 percent of males.
o Athletics followed reading as a primary interest for 13.2 percent of females, while technology followed athletics as a primary interest for 16.3 percent of males.

“When educators have a better understanding of how students prefer to learn and express themselves, they can begin to personalize instruction in ways that will improve student success,” said Eileen Shihadeh, Vice President at Compass Learning. “This knowledge of students’ interests and preferences gives teachers keen insights that enable them to create a more productive, engaging and rigorous classroom for each and every student.”

An infographic reflecting key findings from this study can be found at www.compasslearning.com, along with a complete summary of findings for the 2013-2014 school year. For more information on Compass Learning solutions, visit www.compasslearning.com.

About Compass Learning®
Known for its academic rigor that is based on more than 40 years of research into how students learn, Compass Learning partners with educators to ensure that students achieve record academic results, one learner at a time. Its K-12 learning acceleration software combines a rigorous instructional approach and actionable data with engaging digital content so students have fun while making real progress. Supported by innovative professional development, Compass Learning is a comprehensive answer for educators who want to inspire students on the path to success. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Compass Learning serves more than 10,000 schools across the United States.

About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.