This website is no longer being consistently updated. However, the links on this page are still active and we invite you to explore these valuable resources.

For more updates about deeper learning work, please visit the Midwest Comprehensive Center and Great Lakes Comprehensive Center websites.

Deeper Learning Research

Supporting Students' College Success: The Role of Assessment of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Competencies

The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine | September 2017

The importance of higher education has never been clearer. Education attainment-- the number of years a person spends in school-- strongly predicts adult earnings, as well as health and civic engagement. Yet relative to other developed nations, education attainment in the United States is lagging, with young Americans who heretofore led the world in completing postsecondary degrees now falling behind their global peers. As part of a broader national college completion agenda aimed at increasing college graduation rates, higher education researchers and policy makers are exploring the role od intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies in supporting student success.

Formative Evaluation of New Hampshire's Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE)

HumRRO | March 2017

New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) is an assessment and accountability strategy designed to reduce the amount of, and reliance on, standardized testing by supplanting much of the traditional end-of-year summative testing with teacher developed performance assessment tasks. PACE was created to support deeper learning through competency education, and to be more integrated into students’ day-to-day work than current standardized tests. The PACE pilot program represents a fundamental qualitative shift in the way accountability assessments are developed, administered, and used to promote teaching and learning.

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?

American Institutes for Research | October 2016

The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes aimed to determine whether Students attending high schools with a mature and at least moderately well-implemented approach to promoting deeper learning actually experienced different instructional strategies, greater deeper learning opportunities, and better outcomes than they would have had they not attended these schools. This report extends those main findings by investigating the potential facilitating role of certain school features in schools’ ability to provide deeper learning opportunities for their students.

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.

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.

Proficiency-based High School Diploma Systems in Maine: Local Implementation of State Standards-based Policy. Phase IV Policy Report.

Maine Education Policy Research Institute | March 2016

This report, fourth in a series on Maine's Proficiency-based diploma system, looks at the following questions: 1. How do Maine public school and school district educators and administrators perceive the challenges and facilitators of implementing the state’s mandated proficiency-based diploma system as described in An Act To Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy? 2. How do Maine public school and school district educators and administrators perceive the impacts of implementing the state’s mandated proficiency-based diploma system as described in An Act To Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy on management systems and structures, fiscal allocations, school climate, instruction, as well as curriculum and assessment? 3. How are Maine public school districts defining proficiency and developing local PK-12 proficiency-based diploma policies?

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.

Deeper Learning: Improving Student Outcomes for College, Career, and Civic Life

Education Policy Center | August 2015

This report, from AIR's Education Policy Center, highlights recent research suggesting that a focus on deeper learning produces a number of positivelearning outcomes for students, regardless of their backgrounds. Students who attended a set of schools in networks associated with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning Community of Practice attained better educational outcomes than students in non-network comparison schools across several indicators, including academic outcomes, inter- and intra-personal skills, graduation, and postsecondary enrollment.

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.

Lifelong Learning Skills for College and Career Readiness: Considerations for Education Policy

College & Career Readiness & Success Center | April 2015

This brief from the College & Career Readiness & Success Center highlights key takeaways from their annotated bibliography that summarizes a broad sample of lifelong learning skills research.

Centered on Results: Assessing the Impact of Student-Centered Learning

Nellie Mae Foundation | April 2015

While many of the concepts and approaches that compromise student-centered learning (SCL) have deep roots in learning theory, the cognitive sciences, and youth and child development, empirical research on SCL’s impact in K-12 classrooms remains limited. To address this gap, the Foundation recently commissioned a series of studies that evaluate the effects of a variety of student-centered practices in secondary schools. The outcomes of this study were largely positive, demonstrating meaningful effects on student achievement and engagement.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.