Deeper Learning and College Attendance: What Happens After High School?
Updated Findings From the Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes
What do today’s students really need to learn to succeed not only in the classroom, but also later in college, careers, and society? At a time when new standards for college and career readiness pivot to a new focus on complex thinking tasks and 21st Century learning, the answer to this question has become critically important.
The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, assessed whether students who attended high schools that focused on deeper learning got more opportunities for deeper learning and whether they had better outcomes than students in comparison high schools. In an updated set of analyses from the study, AIR found that students who attended high schools focused on deeper learning were more likely to enroll in four-year institutions and in college in general than their peers who attended comparison schools.
This brief describes further analysis of the effect of attending a deeper learning network high school on students’ college enrollment based on updated postsecondary data.
See the original report, Evidence of Deeper Learning Outcomes (September 2014), and the first set of updated findings, Graduation Advantage Persists for Students in Deeper Learning Network High Schools (March 2016). For an overview of all research findings from the study, as of August 2016, see the Summary of Study Results - Does Deeper Learning Improve Student Outcomes? (PDF).
- Students who attended network high schools were significantly more likely to enroll in college than were students in non-network high schools.
- Students who attended network high schools were significantly more likely to enroll in four-year institutions and selective four-year institutions than were students who attended non-network high schools.
- The estimated effects of attending a network high school on postsecondary enrollment differed across the pairs of network and non-network high schools.
- The effects of attending a network high school on postsecondary enrollment were stronger for students who entered high school with lower achievement than for those who entered with higher achievement.
- Among students who ever enrolled in college, students who attended network high schools were significantly more likely to enroll in college during the fall immediately after expected high school graduation, but rates of retention and consecutive enrollment were similar for students who attended network schools and nonnetwork schools.
These findings contribute to a growing body of evidence that students who attend deeper learning network high schools experience more positive academic outcomes than students who attend non-network high schools. More research is needed to better understand how deeper learning affects students’ longer term outcomes (such as postsecondary degree completion), and to identify which student experiences in high school and which deeper learning competencies are associated with on-time high school graduation and postsecondary outcomes.
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Deeper Learning and College Attendance: What Happens After High School? and its technical appendix by American Institutes for Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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