About the Students at the Center Hub

The Students at the Center Hub was created through a partnership between the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Jobs for the Future.

The Mission of the Hub

  • Help raise the visibility of student-centered learning in New England and beyond.
  • Offer a centralized location for tools and resources on student-centered learning approaches.
  • Provide a user-friendly, interactive space for practitioners, implementers and supporters of student-centered approaches to learning.

Hub Features/Areas to Explore

About the Students at the Center Initiative


Engaging All Students for College, Career, and Civic Success

Students at the Center helps educators to understand and make use of current research on student-centered approaches to teaching and learning. Together with our partners, we aim to ensure that all students—with a special focus on under-served youth and students of color—have meaningful opportunities to acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for success in college, in the workforce, and in civic life.

Rationale and Background

In order to succeed in today’s world, all young people need to develop the sort of high-level academic knowledge and skills that, in past generations, only a select few students to master. However, after a decade of unprecedented efforts to raise educational standards, boost achievement levels across the board, and close longstanding race-and income-related achievement gaps, federal and state policymakers have seen only negligible improvements in student performance in reading, math, and other core subjects. Clearly, in order to make real progress in educational achievement and equity, new strategies will be needed. We believe that those new strategies must be grounded in the best available evidence about how students learn, including findings from important new lines of research into brain development, motivation, creativity, persistence, self-regulation, the application of knowledge to real-world problems, and other topics that we group together under the banner of student-centered learning.

However, educators, families, and students have few places to which they can turn for comprehensive information about this emerging field, including its key research findings, policy implications, and exemplary practices.

In order to meet that need, and in partnership with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Jobs for the Future launched the Students at the Center Hub.

Students at the Center—Three Strands of Work

1) Student-Centered Learning

Our work began in 2011, when we commissioned nine teams of nationally prominent researchers to write papers meant to synthesize—and help education practitioners and policymakers to understand—the empirical knowledge base that supports student-centered approaches to learning. Their reports are available on this website, and they are collected in the edited volume Anytime, Anywhere: Student-Centered Learning for Schools and Teachers (Harvard Education Press, 2013).

Students at the Center continues to share this research via the Research Portal and probe new, deeper research questions through the Research Collaborative. The Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative is grateful for thought leadership and anchor funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and additional support from Overdeck Family Foundation and the Barr Foundation. Learn more about the advisors and the Research Collaborative Fellows.

2) Deeper Learning

In 2013, and in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Students at the Center commissioned a second, complementary series of reports, which aim to synthesize the research evidence that supports what Hewlett has termed Deeper Learning.

While Student-Centered Learning refers to effective educational practices (grounded in research into how students learn), Deeper Learning refers to educational purposes (drawing on research into what students must learn in order to be prepared for college, careers, and civic life).

They are, in effect, two sides of the same coin—or, as we like to put it: Student-centered approaches lead to deeper learning outcomes. Our Deeper Learning work can be found in the Research Portal and Deeper Learning page at Jobs for the Future

For more information on the Initiative and FAQs:

Download the Students at the Center Initiative Overview

Frequently Asked Questions, Terms and Definitions

Our Framework

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