Deeper Learning Research

Ten Questions for Mathematics Teachers… and How PISA Can Help Answer Them

OECD | November 2016

This report delves into topics such as, “How much should I encourage my students to be responsible for their own learning in mathematics?” or “As a mathematics teacher, how important is the relationship I have with my students?”. It gives teachers timely and relevant data and analyses that can help them reflect on their teaching strategies and how students learn.

School Features and Student Opportunities for Deeper Learning: What Makes a Difference?

Huberman, M., Duffy, H., Mason, J., Zeiser, K.L., O'Day, J. | October 2016

This recent AIR report develops on the findings of The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes. The authors studied variation between network schools in characteristics associated with student achievement and find three school-level conditions that facilitate deeper learning.

Looking Under the Hood of Competency-Based Education

Nellie Mae Foundation | June 2016

This recent AIR study of competency-based education, funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, examines key features of CBE environments, and explores the relationship between student participation in CBE, and positive changes in students’ learning capacities, the skills, behaviors and dispositions associated with student success in school.

Looking Under the Hood of Competency-Based Education

Haynes, E., Zeiser, K., Surr, W. et al. | June 2016

This recent AIR study of competency-based education, funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, examines key features of CBE environments, and explores the relationship between student participation in CBE, and positive changes in students’ learning capacities, the skills, behaviors and dispositions associated with student success in school.

Leaping the college ready gap: what can be learned from schools that focus on deeper learning?

Marrtinez and McGrath | May 2016

Authors Martinez and McGrath profile the practices of 8 schools that focus on deeper learning and highlight how these schools are helping close the achievement gap for Latino and black students.

New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology

World Economic Forum | March 2016

This report follows up on a 2015 report on sixteen proficiencies essential for closing the 21st century skills gap. The follow-up explores how those proficiencies not only deepen 21st century skills, but are also at the core of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and can be fostered through technology. To achieve this analysis, this report explores the following topics: 1) benefits and best practices of SEL; 2) the promise of education technology; 3) the hurdles of adopting SEL technology, and 4) how to involve essential stakeholders.

Teacher leadership & deeper learning for all students

Center for Teaching Quality | March 2016

This report states that although there is a growing number of policy and business leaders joining teachers and administrators to broaden student access to deeper learning opportunities, there is still much work that needs to be done. To that end, this report examines the role of teacher leadership in this endeavor, including: 1) how teachers learn to lead; 2) conditions needed for teacher leadership; 3) cultivating and scaling teacher leadership, and 4) the steps that need to be taken for stakeholders to help advance teacher leadership.

Graduation Advantage Persists for Students in Deeper Learning Network High Schools

American Institutes for Research | March 2016

Can deeper learning approaches lead to higher graduation rates? A second round of graduation data from the Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes suggests that perhaps they can.

Chugach School District: A Personalized, Performance-Based System

iNACOL | March 2016

This paper explores how an Alaskan school district shifted from a traditional K-12 education system to a personalized, performance-based system, embedded in the culture of the community, which led to increased student achievement.

The Costly Consequences of Not Being Socially and Behaviorally Ready by Kindergarten: Associations with Grade Retention, Receipt of Academic Support Services, and Suspensions/Expulsions

Baltimore Education Research Consortium | March 2016

This report examined the relationships between social-behavioral readiness in kindergarten and three costly educational outcomes in over 9,000 elementary school students: being retained in grade, receiving additional services and supports through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan, and being suspended or expelled from school.

The Influence of Teaching

The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University | October 2015

Agency is essential to students’ deeper learning—and school and life success. This report, based on a study of 16,000 6 to 9th grade classrooms, provides new evidence for the ways in which teachers can influence the emotions, motivations, mindsets, and behaviors that we associate with agency through their classroom practices.

Equal Opportunity for Deeper Learning

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education | October 2015

This report addresses the issue of equity in a crucial dimension: teaching and learning. Pedro Noguera, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Diane Friedlaender argue that, to ensure equity in access to deeper learning, practices and policies must address the context for education both outside and inside of schools. To enable low-income students to learn deeply and successfully, schools that serve them must offer a high-quality instructional experience and the wraparound services that can help ameliorate the stressful conditions they experience in their communities.

On the Road to Assessing Deeper Learning: What Direction Do Test Blueprints Provide?

National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing | September 2015

This research study examined the extent to which test items in the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments measure deeper learning. Findings suggest that the new tests do increase cognitive demand over prior tests, but that higher order thinking is only required for fewer than 20 percent of test items. Results showed that the tests' performance tasks, in particular, required students to demonstrate their deeper learning and higher order thinking.

Motivation Matters: How New Research Can Help Teachers Boost Student Engagement

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching | July 2015

This report aims to help educators and policymakers understand the complex topic of student motivation. Authors Susan Headden and Sarah McKay define key terms, discuss new research findings, and examine promising classroom strategies for improving students’ engagement in learning.

Social Emotional Learning in High School: How Three Urban High Schools Engage, Educate, and Empower Youth

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education | April 2015

This report—based on in-depth case studies of three urban, socioeconomically and racially diverse small public high schools, a student survey, and a comparison of student survey results to a national sample of students—investigates the ways in which these schools design, implement, and practice school-wide social emotional learning as well as how this focus on social emotional learning shapes students’ educational experiences and outcomes.

Competency-Based Learning: Definitions, Policies, and Implementation

REL Northeast & Islands (REL-NEI) | April 2015

With support from the Northeast College and Career Readiness Alliance (NCCRA), REL Northeast & Islands researchers studied how proficiency- or competency-based learning (P/CBL) is defined across New England and identified perceived challenges to and supports affecting its implementation. The findings provide information for states to leverage policy change and guidance for how to support districts and schools as they implement this reform.

Social and Emotional Skills for Life and Career: Policy Levers that Focus on the Whole Child

Center on Great Teachers & Leaders | March 2015

This policy snapshot from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders summarizes existing research on the effects that education has on students’ social and emotional skills and offers insights into policy considerations for integrating and initiating SEL.

Including the Learner in Personalized Learning

Center on Innovations in Learning | January 2015

This issue brief from the League of Innovators explores how giving learners more autonomy over learning outcomes increases their academic engagement.

The Students at the Center Hub

Jobs for the Future and Nellie Mae Foundation | January 2015

An Up-Close Look at Student-Centered Math Teaching

Nellie Mae Education Foundation | November 2014

The American Institutes of Research (AIR), with support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, conducted a study of highly regarded high school math teachers to expand the research base in two important ways. First, rather than assuming student-centered instruction is a monolithic construct, the team used a case study approach to provide rich descriptions of how the approach plays out in several classrooms, taking into account how teachers’ personal philosophy and the school’s instructional context might influence their practice. The case study also provided insights into students’ perspectives on different approaches to mathematics instruction. Second, the researchers looked across a larger sample of classrooms to determine the effects of varying degrees of student-centeredness on students’ engagement with learning and their problem-solving skills.

An Up-Close Look at Student-Centered Math Teaching

Nellie Mae Foundation | November 2014

When teachers use student-centered techniques to engage students in more active and authentic ways, they can transform math classrooms into lively learning environments in which students take charge of their own learning, collaborate with others, persist in solving complicated problems and make meaningful connections to the world around them.

Lighting the Path to Personalized Learning: Inspiring Stories from Next Gen Schools

Getting Smart | November 2014

With the support of Next Generation Learning Challenges, the Getting Smart team spent the last year visiting and learning from next gen schools across the country. This report tells the story of 14 schools across the country that are breaking through the traditional model of school to present students with next gen learning experiences that are personalized and engaging. Each of these schools are NGLC grantees and adhere to three Personalized Learning School Design Attributes that are key to reimagining public education.

Skills for Success: Supporting and Assessing Key Habits, Mindsets, and Skills in PreK-12

New America Foundation | November 2014

Based on a review of the research and strategies discussed within this paper, New America makes several recommendations for how various entities— federal and state governments, LEAs and schools, and research institutions—can encourage progress on developing certain skills for success in schools, PreK–12.

The Shape Of Deeper Learning: Strategies, Structures, And Cultures In Deeper Learning Network High Schools

American Institutes for Research | September 2014

This study uncovers deeper learning strategies used in 19 high schools across 10 school networks. The findings compile a range of strategies these schools have used to develop deeper learning competencies.

Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes

American Institutes for Research | September 2014

American Institutes for Research released three reports after a three-year study examining the ways in which schools provide deeper learning opportunities to students. (1) The Shape of Deeper Learning: Strategies, Structures, and Cultures in Deeper Learning Network High Schools (2) Providing Opportunities for Deeper Learning (3) Evidence of Deeper Learning Outcomes.

The Past and the Promise: Today's Competency Education Movement

Jobs for the Future | September 2014

This first paper in Students at the Center's Competency Education Research Series explores several essential aspects of today’s competency education reforms, including policy drivers, historical context, research and theory on effective student-centered learning, and current opportunities and challenges.

The Impact of Formative Assessment and Learning Intentions on Student Achievement

Hanover Research | August 2014

This brief [provides] an overview of the main discourses in literature linking formative assessment and learning objectives to student achievement.

Competency-Based Education in Three Pilot Programs: Examining Implementation and Outcomes

RAND Corporation | August 2014

This report presents final results from the evaluation of Project Mastery, a grant program to support competency-based education initiatives in large school systems that serve a high proportion of disadvantaged youth. The report gives an overview of competency-based education and the Project Mastery grant projects and describes the implementation of competency-based educational features under each project. The report concludes with six lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice.

The Effects of Concurrent Enrollment on the College-Going and Remedial Education Rates of Colorado’s High School Students

Colorado Department of Higher Education | March 2014

This study examined postsecondary educational outcomes for 2010, 2011, and 2012 Colorado high school graduates. The study found a number of positive outcomes for students who took dual and concurrent enrollment courses, and used regression analysis to control statistically for the impact of student demographic variables, ACT performance, and school variables,

Putting Students At The Center

Nellie Mae Foundation & Jobs for the Future | January 2014

This reference guide shares current research and tools for practitioners to use as they support students in reaching college and career readiness and civic engagement outcomes. It includes a list of learning approaches and tools available to all stakeholders interested in implementing student-centered learning environments.

Early Progress: Interim Research On Personalized Learning

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | January 2014

This report details how students attending public charter schools implementing personalized learning plans demonstrate greater gains in mathematics and reading.

Implementation of a Proficiency‐Based Diploma System in Maine: Phase II - District Level Analysis

Maine Education Policy Research Insitute | January 2014

This report describes the findings from Phase II of a study of Maine's implementation of a proficiency-based diploma system. Phase II of this study focused on gathering data from participants in various district‐level roles as well as discussing district‐level benefits and challenges and work done with teachers and administrators in the various schools of each case study district.

Teaching the Whole Child: Instructional Practices That Support Social-Emotional Learning in Three Teacher Evaluation Frameworks

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders | January 2014

This Research-to-Practice Brief is the first of its kind to cover the following: Identifies the instructional practices that promote student social-emotional learning, which in turn are critical for student academic learning. Showcases how three popular teacher evaluation frameworks (the Danielson Framework for Teaching, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System observation instrument, and the Marzano observation protocol) embed practices that influence not only student academic learning but also student social and emotional competencies.

Deeper Learning for Every Student Every Day

Getting Smart | January 2014

This report highlights how select schools throughout the nation are working to promote deeper learning through personalized, blended and project-based learning strategies. This report also tackles myths about deeper learning implementation, such as: 1) it costs more than traditional education, 2) requires master teachers, and 3) is only for high performing schools. Lastly, the appendix offers a profile for each school selected for this report.

Promoting Rigorous Career and Technical Education Programs of Study: Year 3 Quantitative Analysis Report

RTI International | August 2013

This four-year research project is funded by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education. It is intended to support states in strengthening the quality of their career and technical education (CTE) programs and in improving their capacity to report valid and reliable data. The analysis investigates how the educational achievement and post-program outcomes of rigorous program of study (RPOS) concentrators, students concentrating in other CTE programs, and all other students (i.e., those who were either CTE participants or who had not enrolled in any CTE course work) differ across two years and across three participating sites in each of six states.

Taking College Courses in High School: A Strategy for College Readiness: The College Outcomes of Dual Enrollment in Texas

Jobs for the Future | October 2012

This study from Jobs for the Future used rigorous quasi-experimental methods to control for factors other than dual enrollment that could explain student success by comparing dual enrollees to non-dual enrollees who are otherwise closely matched academically and socially. High school students who had completed a college course before graduationwere found to have a number of positive postsecondary educational outcomes; these findings held for all racial groups as well as for students from low-income families.

Compendium of Social-Behavioral Research Funded by NCER and NCSER: 2002–2013

Institute of Education Sciences |

Between 2002 and 2013, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded over 245 projects focused on social-behavioral competencies or outcomes (e.g., social skills, dropout prevention) through the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER). NCER commissioned the development of this compendium to provide brief descriptions of these projects in a structured and easy-to-use format.