Supporting States & Districts to Implement Student-Centered & Deeper Learning Practices

Supporting States & Districts to Implement Student-Centered & Deeper Learning Practices

At a Glance

Think critically. Communicate effectively. Solve complex problems. We help high schools, colleges, and employers engage underserved learners and improve these essential skills for life.






Areas of Work
  • Ensuring Equity in Advancement
  • Preparing for the Future of Work
Experts Involved
In progress
  • VA
  • NH

We want to increase the number of teachers developing and students experiencing performance assessments aligned with deeper learning competencies. We use a framework, resources, and expertise to support districts, states, and community colleges in implementing student-centered approaches that increase deeper learning outcomes for low-income and marginalized populations.


The Students at the Center framework defines a core set of research-backed principles that are known to drive powerful teaching and learning and designed to ensure that all students develop the sorts of high-level knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to succeed in college, careers, and civic life. These four key principles of student-centered learning—drawn from the mind/brain sciences, learning theory, and research on youth development—are overlapping and complementary. In combination, and when guided by a coherent and rigorous set of educational goals, they provide a strong foundation for the pursuit of deeper learning.

Students at the Center Framework


JFF launched Students at the Center by commissioning teams of distinguished scholars to synthesize existing research on student motivation and engagement, cognitive development, school improvement, and efforts to take effective teaching practices to scale. The project has since commissioned its second set of white papers, analyzing research and describing policy strategies that promise to support deeper learning in the nation’s schools. 

The papers are currently organized under the following topics:

Tools and Resources

Students at the Center Hub

The Students at the Center Hub is a resource for educators, families, students, and communities wanting to learn more about research, best practices, supportive policies, and how to talk about student-centered approaches to learning. The Students at the Center Hub is managed by JFF and generously funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

Access the Students at the Center Hub

Our Team