Giving Compass' Take:

• Getting Smart discusses the importance of learning science in education — while many data-based initiatives that focus on how kids' minds develop have been implemented across the U.S., they are still too sparse.

• Should the donor community support more project-based learning programs, as well as other innovative practices? 

• Here's an article on supporting students' social, emotional, and academic development. 

Turnaround for Children, an organization focused on “creating evidence-based tools that work in high-risk settings,” recently released a report that examines a growing body of research on student development and growth: Key Findings and Implications of the Science of Learning and Development. This report grew out of the work of the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) initiative that partnered six broad-based stakeholder organizations. These organizations joined forces with the explicit intention of analyzing research results to inform and transform educational policy and practice for maximal life outcomes for students. The initiative focuses on today’s educational structures as they affect today’s students, to ensure that they are ready for the uncertainty of tomorrow’s world.

The experience of contemporary students is very different than it was fifty years ago, and the experience base learners bring to school is also very different than previous generations. Students process stimuli from mass media on a nearly constant basis, regularly interact with others geographically and culturally distant from their local community, and have access to technology-based tools for production and consumption once available only to specialized experts.

And, what we know about how students learn and grow has also seen rapid developments over the last several decades. A flowering of research from neuroscience, psychology, early childhood, and a variety of other disciplines on the science of learning and development has begun to shed light on what is necessary for students to reach our educational and societal ambitions. A number of independent research disciplines have matured into the emerging field of “Learning Science,” and school systems have yet to transition from a basis of tradition to evidence-based practice.

Read the full article about the need to focus on student development by Erin Gohl at Getting Smart.