Small Schools

Issue Focus

Past Successes, Enduring Challenges, and Future Considerations

January, 2020
Madeline Price, William Corrin

Focusing on NYC’s small high schools of choice, this reflection on MDRC’s recent high school reform research considers responses to five challenges: creating personalized, orderly learning environments; assisting students with poor academic skills; improving instructional content and practice; preparing students for the future; and stimulating change in overstressed high schools.

Brief

A First Look at Effects on Postsecondary Persistence and Labor Market Outcomes

April, 2019

Four years after scheduled graduation, students from small high schools of choice, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, were more likely to be enrolled in postsecondary education and to be participating in “productive activity” (being in college, being employed, or both) than their control group counterparts.

Issue Focus

The Case of Career and Technical Education

July, 2017

In the complex high school choice process, families may face an additional layer of decisions if they are considering career and technical education programs, which vary widely in their structure, content, and quality. This issue focus emphasizes the importance of providing families with clear information about how to compare them.

Issue Focus
April, 2016
Joshua Malbin, Rekha Balu

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states greater responsibility for choosing strategies to improve underperforming schools. For over a decade, MDRC has rigorously evaluated school improvement strategies, collecting evidence that can help states determine which strategies are likely to work. This Issue Focus describes four of MDRC’s most recent studies.

Report

Examples, Evidence, and Prospects

April, 2015
Mary Visher, David Stern

High school reform is increasingly focused on the role of career-technical education (CTE) in preparing all students for success in both college and career. Instead of stand-alone vocational courses, programs that merge CTE, rigorous academics, and career exploration are gaining momentum, but schools need resources and training to implement them.

Brief

The Effects of New York City’s Small High Schools of Choice on Postsecondary Enrollment

October, 2014

New data from a rigorous study confirm that New York City’s small public high schools, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, increase rates of graduation and college attendance for a wide range of groups, including students of color.

Issue Focus

The Importance of Evidence

July, 2014
Gordon Berlin

In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.

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