What can be done to help students receive academic credit for learning that takes place primarily outside of the classroom?
That was the question researchers at the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy sought to answer through a study of organizations providing expanded learning opportunities in the Boston area.
They defined expanded learning opportunities as those that “complement and/or expand upon traditional classroom instruction and may occur during or after the school day,” and also noted that these programs tend to, “involve adults other than the primary teachers of record, such as community partners.”
In a policy brief published last month called, “Beyond School Walls: Earning Credit for Expanded Learning Opportunities,” the researchers examined the work of Boston After School & Beyond, a nonprofit that links public and private partners in the Boston area to provide students with opportunities to learn outside of the traditional classroom setting. Boston After School and Beyond provided financial support for their work. The researchers specifically were interested in the group’s efforts to support the creation of a formal system for students to receive academic credit for this type of learning.