What do today’s students really need to learn in order to succeed, not only in the classroom but also later on in college, careers, and as engaged citizens?
Much of American education policy focuses on the need for students to develop deeper content knowledge and an ability to apply their knowledge and skills to tasks and situations inside and outside of school. The Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards reflect this dual focus on academic learning and real-world application.
What is Deeper Learning?
The combination of (1) a deeper understanding of core academic content, (2) the ability to apply that understanding to novel problems and situations, and (3) the development of a range of competencies, including people skills and self control, is called deeper learning. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation—a leader in the national initiative to promote deeper learning in schools—has defined deeper learning as “a set of competencies students must master in order to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their knowledge to problems in the classroom and on the job.”
The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, aimed to determine whether students who attended high schools with a mature and at least moderately well implemented approach to promoting deeper learning actually experienced greater deeper learning opportunities and outcomes than would likely have been the case had they not attended these schools.
For more about deeper learning, see Does Deeper Learning Improve Student Outcomes? Results From the Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes, as well as the reports below.