Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deeper learning research

Deeper Learning Approach Shows Positive Student Gains
      The idea that students need to develop a deeper understanding of content and the ability to apply what they learn in one area to another area are major premises of new learning standards, such as the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. A new study now shows that schools promoting the practices of what's called "deeper learning" are getting better results from their students. According to the American Institute for Research,
deeper learning consists of three elements: a "deeper understanding of core academic content"; "the ability to apply that understanding to novel problems and situations"; and "development of a range of competencies," such as communication, collaboration, "learning to learn," development of an academic mindset and self-control.
     The organization examined outcomes for students attending schools that participate in a deeper learning network community of practice. Researchers compared 13 "network" schools against non-network schools with similar levels of incoming student achievement rates and comparable levels of federal, state and local funding. All are public high schools with student populations that include students of color, English language learners and students from low-income families.
     The study found that the network schools tackled development of deeper learning competencies in different ways. Most used project-based learning to help students master core academic content areas and critical thinking skills, but the structure of those projects varied across schools. Students at these schools reported "greater opportunities" to engage in deeper learning than the students in non-network schools. The network schools, for example, put a bigger emphasis on internship opportunities, study groups and student participation in decision-making.
 American Institute for Research.  (2014). Study of deeper learning: Opportunities and outcomes.

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