Research

New: Findings from the Research Collaborative

Bridging the worlds of research, practice, and policy, JFF’s Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative investigates student-centered approaches to improve outcomes for learners from all backgrounds, particularly those who have been marginalized or underserved by the current system. In our first cycle of funded research, our grantees looked at competency-based education, student agency, personalization, collaboration, and networked improvement communities.

Understanding implementation of proficiency-based education in Maine

In 2012, Maine passed legislation requiring all students graduate from high school with a proficiency-based diploma. Although the terminology in Maine is proficiency rather than competency, the goals are the same: to ensure that students have the opportunity to progress as they demonstrate mastery of important content and skills. Education Development Center partnered with 10 districts in rural Maine to investigate exposure to proficiency-based education, including links to engagement and academic outcomes as well as the nature of implementation.

Funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

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Learning With Others: A Study Exploring the Relationship Between Collaboration, Personalization, and Equity

The American Institutes of Research (AIR) explored collaboration as a strategy to personalize learning for diverse student groups. Focusing on grades 9-12, the study looked at connections between collaboration in student-centered learning classrooms and student outcomes and how these differed by race and ethnicity. Additionally, the study sought to understand from teachers how school contexts helped or hindered collaboration opportunities in diverse classrooms. Working with four high schools noted for their personalized learning approaches, AIR researchers collected in-depth data from students and teachers to understand these student outcomes and classroom contexts.

Funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

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Maximizing Student Agency: Implementation of Student-Centered Learning Approaches

Working with New Tech Network schools, the research team at American Institutes for Research created multiple opportunities to design, test and revise teacher practices as part of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC). The NIC’s goal was to develop a menu effective teaching practices in support of student-centered learning geared towards student ownership of learning or agency. The study also looked at how student agency was related to academic outcomes and how these varied for students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Co-funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation

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Abolishing the phrase “I’m not a math person”

Partnering with middle and high schools from four districts, the research investigated at how to improve student agency and learning outcomes in math—particularly for students from traditionally marginalized groups. With an improvement science framework, the collaborative tested, refined, and spread “high-leverage” practices that reframed mathematical struggle as learning and engaged students in collaborative problem-solving. They also worked with students to discuss how they thought about math and made visible the diverse ways problems can be solved and the relationship to a growth mindset.

Co-funding provided by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation

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Student-Centered Learning Practices: Investigating the Outcomes for Underserved Student Populations

The goal of this grant opportunity is to investigate the extent to which student-centered learning practices can be used to advance equity in public education. Research proposals should be directed at building the knowledge base related to the impact of specific student-centered learning approaches on marginalized populations of students, the supports that may be needed to ensure realization of positive outcomes for those populations, and the contextual conditions needed to sustain equity-enhancing forms of implementation.

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Investigating the Evidence for Student-Centered Learning

We are seeking proposals from researchers and research institutions that describe one- to two-year research projects that investigate the contexts, components, and impacts of student-centered learning approaches. In particular, we are looking to understand the effectiveness of specific student-centered practices, the conditions that support (and undermine) them, who most (and least) benefits from them, and why.

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The Implementation of Student-Centered Learning Approaches

We are seeking proposals from researchers from grant-eligible research institutions that describe two-year projects investigating the implementation of student-centered learning practices, while also measuring the effects of these practices on students, particularly those who are members of historically underserved subgroups.

Access the full RFP and all submission information

Investigating the Evidence for Student-Centered Learning

We are seeking proposals from researchers and research institutions that describe one- to two-year research projects that investigate the contexts, components, and impacts of student-centered learning approaches. In particular, we are looking to understand the effectiveness of specific student-centered practices, the conditions that support (and undermine) them, who most (and least) benefits from them, and why.

Access the full RFP and all submission information

The Students at the Center Distinguished Fellowship

This is a high impact, high visibility, two-year, competitive program open to only nine fellows. In the inaugural cohort, three fellowships will be reserved for researchers, three for policymakers, and three for practitioners. The practice and policy fellows must work and reside in New England, and the research fellows must be gathering and analyzing data from the New England area. Through a generous stipend, personalized competency coaching, interdisciplinary partnerships, and ample staff assistance, all Students at the Center Distinguished Fellows will receive the support they need to develop their research muscles in service of translating student-centered learning research for various stakeholders. The Fellows will work with the Collaborative’s Advisors, research teams, and staff to produce implementation tools that help schools ramp up their use of student-centered practices. Fellows will also curate and communicate findings from multiple fields to help the general public understand the value and positive impact student-centered practices can have.

Access the Fellowship application and all submission information