Traditional approaches to education have done too little to address long-standing inequities in achievement and success after high school. Increasingly, district leaders and educators are attempting to recraft existing systems around student-centered learning (SCL) to promote equity for students by providing rigorous learning opportunities, supports, and pathways to college and career readiness.

EDC served as the evaluation partner of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s District-Level Systems Change initiative to support SCL in New England high schools. As an evaluator, EDC examined the implementation and effects of the four tenets of SCL:

1. Personalized learning
2. Student-owned learning
3. Competency-based learning
4. Anywhere, anytime learning

With support from EDC, the foundation and its grantee districts used findings from the evaluation to improve the implementation of SCL and to measure the influence of SCL on student outcomes.

Key Activities

To perform the evaluation, EDC conducted the following:


  • Based upon EDC’s evaluation findings, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation redesigned its strategy for grant making for SCL in New England and now focuses on advancing racial equity in public education.
  • Over 3,000 teachers and over 13,000 students completed EDC/NMEF SCL questionnaires during the years of the evaluation.
  • EDC evaluated the influence of SCL programs in 10 urban, suburban, and rural districts across New England that served a combined total of more than 15,000 high school students annually.

Learn More

Nellie Mae Education Foundation