The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 offers a number of opportunities for states and districts to advance deeper learning and ensure that all students graduate from high school with the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, collaborate with peers, communicate effectively, and be self-directed. Deeper learning is the delivery of challenging academic standards to students in innovative ways that allow them to learn, and then apply what they have learned. True deeper learning is developing competencies that enable students to graduate from high school ready for college and a career and then make maximum use of their knowledge in life and work.
Under ESSA, states are required to adopt challenging academic content standards and demonstrate that those standards align with entrance requirements for credit-bearing course work in the state’s public system of higher education and with relevant state career and technical education (CTE) standards. By adopting challenging academic standards that ask students to think critically and analyze complex problems, states can help develop deeper learning.