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Applied Learning in the Classroom

Board on Testing and Assessment & Board on Science Education. (n.d.). Education for life and work: Guide for practitioners (pp. 1–11). National Research Council of the National Academies. Available at

This guide explores the importance of deeper learning and “transference”— the ability to transfer and apply knowledge and skills from one context to another—an essential skill for educators when creating applied learning opportunities in career pathways. The authors begin with a description of what deeper learning is and the positive influence research suggests it has on teaching and learning. They especially focus on the way deeper learning can differentiate novice- and mastery-level learning. For example, they note differences in a student’s ability (or inability) to integrate facts and procedures into a variety of different tasks and to consider their own skills and knowledge as continuously improving instead of being static. The piece then describes six key teaching practices that teachers ought to incorporate to encourage deeper learning: (1) show learning concepts in different ways, (2) foster students’ examinations and questionings with themselves and others, (3) challenge students with the proper amounts of scaffolding and support, (4) provide real-life examples, (5) encourage students to embrace a growth-mindset, and (6) use formative assessment to help monitor progress and provide feedback to students.

Daggett, W. R. (2016). Rigor/Relevance Framework: A guide to focusing resources to increase student performance. Retrieved from International Center for Leadership in Education website: Available at

Creating high-quality, applied learning opportunities for students calls for rigorous and relevant instruction that guide students through academic content standards while also bearing relevance to the real world. This rigor-relevance framework is a tool developed by the International Center for Leadership in Education to examine curriculum, instruction, and assessment that classifies student learning opportunities based on two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement. The first dimension is a continuum of knowledge that describes the increasingly complex ways in which we think. It ranges from lower-level skills like remembering to increasingly higher-level activities such as understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The second dimension, the Application Model, captures putting knowledge to use and features five levels: knowledge in one discipline, apply in discipline, apply across disciplines, apply to real-world predictable situations, and apply to real-world unpredictable situations. These two continuums make up the axes of the rigor/relevance framework, creating four quadrants: quadrant A (acquisition), quadrant B (application), quadrant C (assimilation), and quadrant D (adaptation). Quadrants B and D represent the most relevant and rigorous learning.

Meeder, H., & Suddreth, T. (2012). Common Core State Standards & career and technical education: Bridging the divide between college and career readiness. Available at

The authors argue that career technical education (CTE) and academic standards remain isolated from each other—though each require the same core skills. Integrating rigorous academic standards into CTE courses will require careful planning and so far, CTE has not been adequately represented in Common Core State Standards implementation efforts. However, as states work to connect their curricula to the Common Core, they are positioned to update CTE standards as well in a manner that facilitates better alignment across standards. The authors provide examples of some state leaders’ efforts to integrate the Common Core and CTE, they furnish strategies state leaders may employ, and they identify common challenges state leaders may encounter.