The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes examines how some schools have provided opportunities for students to acquire deeper learning skills and how these opportunities are related to student outcomes. The deeper learning theory of action assumes that opportunities to engage in deeper learning activities help students to develop three types of deeper learning competencies: cognitive (mastery of core content, critical thinking skills), interpersonal (collaboration skills, communication skills), and intrapersonal (learning-how-to-learn skills, academic mindsets).
Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the study includes 20 high schools that focus on deeper learning skills (“network schools”) as well as a matched sample of comparison (“non-network”) schools. All twenty schools belonged to one of ten deeper learning networks and had a mature and at least moderately well-implemented approach to promoting deeper learning.
In a series of reports, AIR researchers compare the strategies and cultures, students’ deeper learning opportunities, and student outcomes between students who attended network schools and non-network schools. In addition, exploratory analyses also examine relationships among opportunities for deeper learning, deeper learning competencies, and students’ on-time high school graduation.
AIR is conducting a follow-up study that will examine the impact of deeper learning on students’ civic engagement, college, and early workforce outcomes 6 years after high school graduation. As part of this follow-up study, AIR hosted a convening during which AIR researchers engaged in discussion and collective problem solving with representatives from districts, states, and regional organizations to inform the development of comprehensive state and district data systems that include longer term outcomes. The resulting White Paper, Following Students After Graduation: Best Practices for Tracking Postsecondary and Workforce Outcomes, highlights features of participants’ data systems; shares reasons for the development of longitudinal data systems that capture longer term outcome data; presents strategies and considerations for developing effective data systems; and offers suggestions for moving this work forward.
Briefs and Reports
Summary of Study Results - Does Deeper Learning Improve Student Outcomes? Results from the Study of Deeper Learning
Brief, August 2016 (PDF)
An overview of research findings from the study, as of August 2016.
Equitable Opportunities for Deeper Learning: Exploring Differences Between Traditional and Network Schools
Research question: Do students attending deeper learning network schools indeed report more equitable learning opportunities than students in comparison schools?
Research question: Are students’ opportunities for deeper learning similarly beneficial for different types of students (e.g., male and female students, English language learners and native English speakers)?
Report #5, October 2016
Research question: Which school features (such as teacher beliefs, teacher professional community, and leadership) make a difference in providing students opportunities to engage in deeper learning?
- School Features and Student Opportunities for Deeper Learning What Makes a Difference?
Brief, October 2016
Are there certain school features that facilitate a school’s ability to provide deeper learning opportunities?
Report #4, August 2016
Research question: How are opportunities for deeper learning, deeper learning competencies, and on-time high school graduation interrelated?
Report #3, September 2014
Research question: Do students attending deeper learning network schools experience better outcomes than similar students in matched non-network schools?
- Graduation Advantage Persists for Students in Deeper Learning Network High Schools
Brief, March 2016
UPDATED FINDINGS: Are students attending deeper learning network schools more likely to graduate from high school than similar students in matched non-network schools?
- Deeper Learning and College Enrollment - What Happens After High School?
Brief, August 2016
UPDATED FINDINGS: Are students attending deeper learning network schools more likely to enroll in college than similar students in matched non-network schools?
Report #2, September 2014
Research question: Do students attending deeper learning network schools experience more opportunities for deeper learning than they would have experienced in similar non-network schools?
The Shape of Deeper Learning: Strategies, Structures, and Cultures in Deeper Learning Network High Schools
Report #1, September 2014
Research question: What strategies, structures, and cultures are common among deeper learning network schools, and how do they differ from those observed in non-network schools?
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The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes Student Survey Documentation and Teacher Survey Documentation by American Institutes for Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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