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Why do all students need to be college and career ready?

The fastest-growing job sectors are those that require problem-solving and critical thinking skills, while jobs that require routine manual skills are in decline. Moreover, by 2020 two out of three jobs will require postsecondary education. Consequently, high school graduates need to master challenging academic content and develop skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving that they can apply to complex and new situations. Yet, too few of the nation’s students demonstrate the college- and career-readiness skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex economy.

Currently, 4 out of 5 employers say that recent hs grads have gaps in preparation (Achieve)

“Alternative Stat”

1 in 6 students are unable to solve problems that require thinking ahead or applying content knowledge to an unfamiliar setting (PISA 2012)

The most effective instruction engages students with rigorous, relevant content and prepares them for college and career success by developing a unique set of skills.

These are known as the deeper learning competencies:

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Content Mastery

Students apply new knowledge to unfamiliar situations.


Effective Communication

Students demonstrate skills in active listening, clear writing, and persuasive presentation.

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Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Students consider a variety of approaches to produce innovative solutions.

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Students work with their peers, assume leadership roles, resolve conflicts, and manage projects.

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Self-directed learning

Students incorporate feedback to emphasize growth and development.

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Academic mindset

Students feel a sense of belonging and the motivation to persist through their school work.

Only 1 in 5 classrooms at least moderately challenges students to think critically and creatively

Schools that nurture deeper learning skills in all students, including students from low-income families and students of color, have stronger academic outcomes, better attendance and student behavior, lower dropout rates, higher high school graduation rates, and higher rates of college attendance and perseverance.

Teaching & Learning

Deeper Learning in Schools


Take action to advance deeper learning outcomes for all students

Influence Policy

Influence policy to enable deeper learning

Changes in accountability procedures, assessments, teacher preparation, and class time can lead to better learning outcomes for students. Play a part in shaping policies that influence these and other conditions needed for deeper learning to happen in schools.

Take Action
Improve Practice

Improve learning experiences for students

Engaging all students in deeper learning often requires shifts in instruction and assessment. Access resources and professional development opportunities to strengthen rich and meaningful learning for all students.

Take Action
Support College & Career

Develop partnerships for postsecondary education and career

Higher education institutions, businesses, and community organizations play an important role in supporting the learning experiences that prepare students for college and career success.

Take Action

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