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Deeper Learning Improves Achievement, Graduation Rates in U.S. Schools

Deeper Learning Improves Achievement, Graduation Rates in U.S. Schools

Deeper learning is a concept that is catching fire in classrooms, and teachers are finding that it can possibly improve the school experience for students.

Deeper learning could also be called "21st century learning" or "personalized learning," according to an article on DistrictAdministration.com. The method, the article said, "raises achievement and graduation rates."

"Deeper learning is another name for the shift in emphasis away from teacher-led, rote learning to critical thinking, problem solving, working collaboratively in groups, and oral and written communication," the article said. "Schools with a deeper learning focus are more likely than traditional schools to offer project-based learning and group work, internship opportunities, and longer-term cumulative assessments, such as portfolios."

Lydia Dobyns, CEO and president of the nonprofit New Tech Network, said that deeper learning "also overlaps with Common Core goals of focusing on applying knowledge to prepare students for college and career."

“We think deeper learning builds on the earlier 21st century skills concept, and recognizes that students today need preparation that goes beyond memorization of content and principles,” she said.

In September, according to the article, "the American Institutes for Research released the study 'Evidence of Deeper Learning Outcomes,' which was funded by the Hewlett Foundation. Researchers compared 20 deeper learning schools—primarily in California and New York—to 13 traditional public high schools nationwide."

"It remains unclear just how the different style is impacting students. Students attending a deeper learning network school scored, on average, between the 54th and 55th percentile on the Program for International Student Assessment-Based Test for Schools [PISA]," the article said. "Compared to non-network students, who scored at the 50th percentile, the difference is not huge, says Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization."

According to the article, both groups "enrolled in college at similar rates, at about 50 percent each. But the graduation rate for students in deeper learning schools was 65 percent, compared to 56 percent at traditional schools."

“The most obvious response I hear from people is, ‘Who wouldn’t want that if the choice implies another option is shallow learning?’ ” she said. “It gives us a chance to try to name what we mean by reimagined or innovative education that is more grounded in the world students are going to face in their lifetime.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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