Highlights from the Technology & Learning Insights Report:

An Analysis of Factors that Drive Successful 21st Century Learning Environments


Powerful findings and key highlights across data from the BrightBytes Technology & Learning module

Our team of researchers and analysts explored defining characteristics of high-performing and low-performing schools in the Technology & Learning module. The results of our research show what enables successful 21st century learning environments, and more importantly, how high-performing schools with challenging characteristics are defying the odds.


Research Basis: The Technology & Learning module

The BrightBytes Clarity platform analyzes complex education data and organizes results in an engaging and actionable way. The Technology & Learning module captures data and aligns results across CASE, a research-based framework that informs the data analytics used to measure the climate of technology across the domains of Classroom, Access, Skills, and Environment.

The Methodology

How we got here in four easy steps

Step One: We analyzed vast amounts of data captured throughout


38 states

1,466 districts

8,558 schools

From over

2.4 Million




146 Million

individual questions answered by students

36 Million

individual questions answered by teachers

Across nine unique factors from the CASE framework

Overall CASE Score Access: Access at School
Classroom: 4Cs
(Communication, Collaboration,
Critical Thinking, and Creativity)
Environment: The 3Ps
(Policies, Procedures,
and Practices)
Classroom: Student 4Cs Environment: Professional Learning
Classroom: Teacher 4Cs Environment: Beliefs
Access: Access at Home

Step Two: We picked an area of focus: outliers


For each of the nine factors, we ranked the schools by their factor score, and identified outliers in the top 5% and the bottom 5%


Step Three: We identified and defined outlier characteristics to explore

Diversity/Minority Percent

A measure of the total number of students who identify as a racial minority (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Black/African American, Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander, or Two or More Races (Multi)) in proportion to the total number of students at each school

Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) Percent

A measure of the total number of students enrolled in an FRL program in proportion to the total number of students at each school

School Setting

A measure of school urbanicity with each school categorized as one of the four urban or rural settings defined by the U.S. Census Bureau

City (Urbanized Area inside a Principal City)

Suburban (outside a Principal City, but inside an Urbanized Area)

Town (inside an Urban Cluster that is between >0 and >35 miles from an Urbanized Area)

Rural (Rural territory that is between >0 and >25 miles from an Urbanized Area and between >0 and >10 miles from an Urban Cluster)

Step Four: We made certain we had a dataset representative of the national breakdown


Asian Black/ African American Hispanic Multi/ Two Races or More American Indian/ Alaska Native Pacific Islander/ Hawaiian Native White
National 3.4% 14.3% 21.1% 3.0% 1.6% 0.3% 50.5%
T&L Dataset 4.4% 10.7% 23.3% 3.1% 0.6% 0.2% 57.6%

Free/Reduced Lunch


School Setting

City Suburb Town Rural NA Total
National 27.1% 31.4% 13.5% 27.6% 0% 100%
T&L Dataset 26.6% 36.3% 12.7% 24.4% 0.4% 100%

Our Discoveries

Diversity across Overall CASE Score and the 4Cs

Overall CASE Score

Top 5% Bottom 5% Significant Difference

4Cs Score

Top 5% Bottom 5% Significant Difference

Both Overall CASE Score and the 4Cs success indicator are not hindered by school diversity.

Overall CASE Score
and Classroom: 4Cs

CASE Scale Score for Top and Bottom 5%

Overall CASE Score
and Classroom: 4Cs

Minority % for Top and Bottom 5%


Our finding that diversity was not significantly different between the schools in the top and bottom 5% across all factors (with the exception of Access) aligns to new research that shows high levels of diversity are more likely to have long-term positive benefits for students, rather than pose challenges.


Schools should embrace diversity so students can be better prepared to live, work, and thrive in a global economy. Educators can support this effort by providing real-world experiences to students via technology integration, such as networking with other students, collaborating online, and learning about cultural experiences from around the world.


Free/Reduced Lunch across Technology & Learning

Top 5% Bottom 5% Significant Difference
CASE Score 40.7% 54.4%
4Cs 39.2% 50.8%
Access at School 38.6% 58.4%
Access at Home 28.1% 77.8%
Teacher Professional Learning 49.9% 52.3%
3Ps (Policies, Procedures, Practices) 43.3% 55.1%
Beliefs 44.4% 55.5%

Higher FRL will hinder success across all areas, except Professional Learning.

Overall CASE Score
and Classroom: 4Cs

FRL % for Top and Bottom 5%

Access at School
and Access at Home

FRL % for Top and Bottom 5%


We know that schools with high FRL also have very low Access at Home scores, which indicates the obvious, social-equity differences still play a role in access.


In order to close the access gap, it is essential for leaders in settings with high FRL to scrutinize and examine the policies in place, and better implement programs that allow students to take school-owned devices home.


Professional Learning

FRL % for Top and Bottom 5%


Professional Learning is the only category in which FRL is not statistically significant between the top and bottom 5%. This suggests that teachers have taken the opportunity to drive their own professional development regardless of their school’s FRL population.


Leaders can explore the strengths and gaps of their team and capture teacher feedback and input into training needs and PD. For all educators, this focus on continuously strengthening skills will have positive downstream effects on classroom practice and beliefs about using technology for learning.


The 3Ps and Beliefs

FRL % for Top and Bottom 5%


While the FRL population of schools is not a barrier for PD, our findings demonstrate that teachers still need leadership support around implementing technology. The 3Ps and Beliefs scores indicate a relationship between student populations’ average socioeconomic status and the administration’s ability to create effective policies, practices, and procedures, and influence positive beliefs at school.


PD cannot be translated into practice without strong leadership to provide the necessary policies, procedures, and practices to support the use and application of technology. This is an area where it’s important to note that leadership decisions have a powerful impact on students, teachers, and their collective success. If teachers perceive leadership as unsupportive, it has a negative effect on their desire to use technology in the classroom.


Access across Technology & Learning

Access at School

School Setting Distribution

Top 5%
1243 Exemplary

Bottom 5%
1024 Proficient



The disproportionate representation of suburban schools in the bottom 5% of Access at School may indicate that having more students in an individual school makes it more difficult to put a device in every student’s hands. Conversely, the high representation of students in less-dense rural settings indicates that students who encounter less competition for accessing technology at their school have higher Access at School scores.


Leaders across suburban schools can ensure better access at school by allowing students from suburban settings (a setting with high Access at Home scores) to bring personal devices from home to school.


Access at Home

School Setting Distribution

Top 5%
1268 Exemplary

Bottom 5%
1121 Advanced


School setting distribution is a factor for Access.



Across Access at Home, the top 5% schools are largely suburban. However, the bottom 5% schools are skewed towards town and city settings, with disproportionately fewer suburban schools. The Access data also demonstrated a significant gap in average FRL rate between the top and bottom schools, and one might be able to infer that there is more poverty concentrated in cities and towns. This connection implies that these students may have less access to devices at home.


Educators in city settings can shift policies to allow students to bring home devices, or ensure that students have access to technology after school by providing extended computer lab hours or neighborhood hotspots in places like school parking lots or school buses.

In Conclusion

By empowering school administrators with data about their students and teachers, they are better equipped to make decisions that are meaningful, impactful, and necessary to support innovation and change in their schools. Using data to cultivate a shared understanding among teachers, students, parents, and administrators is the most positive outcome one can imagine, especially when that data is insightful, relevant, and actionable.

Build effective 21st century classrooms with insight into critical data in the BrightBytes Technology & Learning module.



• Access to technology at school and at home

• Technology instruction and use of the 4Cs

• The foundational, online, and multimedia skills for teachers and students

• The effectiveness of organizational policies, procedures, and practices

• Professional development asks and needs