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.

Since 2012, EDC has served as the evaluation partner of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation initiative to support SCL in New England high schools. As evaluator, EDC examined the implementation and effects of the four tenets of SCL:

  • Personalized learning
  • Student-owned learning
  • Competency-based learning
  • Anywhere, anytime learning

Findings from the evaluation have been used by the foundation and its grantee districts with support from EDC to improve the implementation of SCL and measure the influence of SCL on student outcomes.

Key Activities

To perform the evaluation, EDC conducted the following:

  • Produced the Common Indicator Frameworks for College and Career Readiness and the Common Indicator Frameworks for Systems-Level Change, which have been used to monitor and measure change across all levels of local school systems
  • Developed and published the EDC/NMEF SCL Questionnaire for Teachers and the EDC/NMEF SCL Questionnaire for Students, a set of publicly available questionnaires that provide rich data related to SCL school reform
  • Collected data, analyzed, and reported on SCL implementation and outcomes over seven years, working in a range of rural, suburban, and urban districts across New England
  • Facilitated interactive sessions to support the use of evaluation findings by the foundation and districts involved in the initiative


  • Based upon the evaluation findings, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation revised its strategy for grant-making for SCL in New England.
  • Over 3,000 teachers and over 13,000 students completed EDC/NMEF SCL questionnaires through the years of the evaluation.
  • Evaluated the influence of SCL programs in ten urban, suburban, and rural districts across New England that serve a combined total of more than 15,000 high school students annually.

Learn More

Nellie Mae Education Foundation