College & Workforce Readiness Report Roundup

‘Deeper Learning’ Approach Linked to Higher Grad Rates

By Catherine Gewertz — March 15, 2016 1 min read

Students who attend schools in networks that focus on “deeper learning” graduate in four years at rates that are about 8 percentage points higher than those of their peers, according to a study released last week by the American Institutes for Research.

The report is the latest in a series of studies that examine outcomes in schools that use a deeper-learning approach. It confirms the findings of another study in the series, released in 2014, which found that students who attend schools that shape instruction that way graduate in four years at rates that are about 9 percentage points higher than those of peers in schools that are not in deeper-learning networks.

The studies, based on samples of more than 20,000 students in 27 schools in New York state and California, are funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which has been exploring the deeper-learning idea in recent years. (The Hewlett Foundation also supports Education Week‘s coverage of the topic.) Researchers focused on students who entered the 9th grade between the 2007-08 and 2010-11 school years in schools that are networked around key principles of deeper learning, such as mastery of core content and problem-solving, and in similar schools that are not in such networks.

The 2014 report that found a graduation-rate advantage for students in deeper-learning network schools followed them through fall 2013. The report released March 9 followed an additional cohort of students through spring 2014. The new study found that the graduation-rate effect wasn’t quite as pronounced for students from low-income families, but showed that those students still graduated at higher rates than similar students in non-network schools.

A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2016 edition of Education Week as ‘Deeper Learning’ Approach Linked to Higher Grad Rates

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