These toolkits introduce state and district leaders to policies, procedures, and practices that may support deeper learning outcomes. The toolkits are not designed to guide implementation of deeper learning approaches at the classroom level and do not provide “how to” resources or specific instructional strategies that teachers use in their classrooms. These toolkits support state and district leaders as they explore whether to launch a deeper learning approach or move toward one; strengthen or expand existing practices; and commit the financial resources, political support, and expertise necessary to ensure success.
As a leader in education policy, advocacy, and practice, the Alliance has produced numerous reports, fact sheets, webinars, videos, blogs, and other resources about deeper learning. These resources provide the starting point for the toolkits. A purpose of the toolkits is to help states and districts utilize the various resources the Alliance has developed to support their work.
Each toolkit contains conversation starters that state and district leaders can use to guide discussion and/or reflection on the information presented. They provide insights into planning, communication, and implementation issues related to launching or strengthening a deeper learning initiative. The tools themselves (e.g., discussion questions, surveys, inventories, vignettes, etc.) assist state and district leaders in thinking about deeper learning and having formal and/or informal conversations about their capacity to support a deeper learning agenda through policies, procedures, and practices.
Many organizations support and inform deeper learning work. A listing of additional experts and advocates for deeper learning is found in the Appendix at the end of this introduction.
The graphic representation below shows the structure of the set of toolkits. The toolkits are organized according to three topic areas: understanding deeper learning; assessing deeper learning; and considering opportunities for deeper learning at the high school level. There is an introduction for each topic that sets a context for the particular toolkits for that topic area.
- The What and Why of Deeper Learning. The purpose of this topical area is to provide an overview of deeper learning and its rationale. There is one toolkit, Deepening Your Understanding of Deeper Learning, which provides state and district leaders with basic content and information about deeper learning. It also includes a section on equity and deeper learning, and ways to leverage the moral and economic imperatives for deeper learning.
- Assessing Deeper Learning. The purpose of this topical area is to describe policies, procedures, and practices that support assessing deeper learning outcomes. There are two toolkits: Using Assessment Results, which describes the different approaches to using and communicating student assessment data that focuses on deeper learning outcomes; and The Every Student Succeeds Act and Assessing for Deeper Learning, which provides a summary of the opportunities within the law to support a deeper learning approach.
- High School Deeper Learning Opportunities. The purpose of this topical area is to describe policies, procedures, and practices that foster deeper learning that are unique to high schools. There is one toolkit, Infrastructure Support, which describes how time, space, and digital literacy can enhance deeper learning.