/definition of high quality learning
definition of high quality learning 2019-04-11T08:03:24+00:00

Logo ISB International School of Bologna   


ISB definition of high quality learning


We believe high quality learning is…

… empowering, impacting every students’ development: a personal journey from individual starting points, providing opportunities for discovery and growth in a social and global context, leading to increasingly autonomous and independent learning.

Deep and meaningful learning occurs when the following conditions are present…

There is a strong connection with home that supports the learning at school.

Students’ ideas are welcome, it is safe to take a risk with an answer or idea and mistakes are seen as opportunities, behaviour management is consistently and fairly applied creating a positive classroom climate, and there is a respect for the privilege of learning.

The expectations for learning in the classroom are high. The task will be challenging providing the appropriate level of cognitive load.  Students have the resilience and perseverance required to overcome personal and academic challenges. Students understand the purpose of what they are doing, they are invested and motivated.  The task is relevant and often it will have real life applications.

Students will have been well prepared because new learning is built on a review of current understanding  and progressively introduced for scaffolded entry points and success.

Lessons are skillfully planned with reviews of previous learning, appropriately differentiated tasks, effective questioning, good modeling, time for reflection, adequate time to embed new skills securely, effective feedback and authentic formative assessments.

This is what we would see and hear…

high quality measurable outcomes, growth, creativity, concentration, self discipline,  ’wow’ moments, a sense of achievement, pride, active minds at work, interaction, student leadership, sharing,  confidence , teamwork , communication, joy, happiness, excitement, independence, reflection, making connection to the real world, encouragement, perseverance, consistency,  collaboration, ease with the unfamiliar, problem solving, making connections, strategizing.


Research Supporting the ISB Definition


This is a summary of research outlining conditions that should be present for deep and meaningful learning to occur. This is not a definitive list and these conditions should be viewed as parts of a holistic approach:


  • Positive learning environment – respect for the sanctity of the classroom
  • Review of previous learning – consolidate previous learning and create continuity
  • Cognitive load  – the appropriate level of difficulty in the task, requiring differentiation  
  • Guided success – scaffolding new skills and concepts, embedding skills
  • Checking for understanding – whole class and at key moments in each lesson
  • Effective feedback – focused on improvement rather than merely verifying performance



Coe et al, (2014) What Makes Great Teaching, Sutton Trust. Retrieved from https://www.suttontrust.com/research-paper/great-teaching/


Cordingley et al (2015) Developing Great Teaching,: Lessons from the international reviews, Teacher Development Trust. Retrieved from https://tdtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/DGT-Summary.pdf


Deans for Impact (2015). The Science of Learning. Austin, TX: Deans for Impact. Retrieved from https://deansforimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/The_Science_of_Learning.pdf


Dunlosky, J (2013) Strengthening the Student Toolbox: Study strategies to boost learning, Retrieved from  https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/dunlosky.pdf


Rosenshine, B (2012) Principles of Instruction:Research based principles, American Educator. Retrieved from https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Rosenshine.pdf


This definition should be reviewed at the beginning of each school year.