Knowledge about how students learn, particularly during the adolescent years, has grown dramatically. There is an increasing interest in aligning education policies and practices with brain research—from teaching social and emotional learning skills in the classroom to incorporating measures of noncognitive skills in accountability systems. Aligning the U.S. education system with scientific research will benefit all students, particularly those who are underserved and in need of support.
This area of research, known as the science of learning, refers to the interdisciplinary study of what happens in and with the brain during learning. Researchers in this field use an increasing understanding of brain functionality to design learning experiences that maximize human learning potential. Also referred to as learning sciences, the science of learning includes and builds upon research in neuroscience and cognitive development and integrates research findings from various fields such as physiology, psychology, and sociology for the purpose of advancing learning in the context of the student’s environment.
The Alliance for Excellent Education understands that practitioner capacity and effective communication networks between educators and researchers must develop before new knowledge from the science of learning can inform changes in policy and practice that will impact reform within traditional schools and districts. Only with a well-established body of research, informed practitioners, and supportive policy, will the science of learning become as influential in adolescent education as it has for early childhood education. Specifically, the Alliance will focus on building the resources and relationships necessary for science of learning research to support historically underserved students in graduating from high school ready for college, a career, and citizenship, thereby closing education achievement and opportunity gaps.