MDRC in the News

Early-College High Schools Are Game Changers

Education Week


…..The line between high school and college is getting blurrier by the day, nowhere more so than at early-college high schools. These are small high schools of choice located on or near college campuses where students take a combination of traditional-high-school classes and actual college offerings.

Nothing is for everybody, and western swing and early colleges are no exception. But for some men and women, they can be life changers.

It’s no exaggeration to say that my favorite area of emerging policy research is around early colleges. Rigorous evaluations are showing that these schools are increasing college-going and college-graduation rates. That part isn’t too surprising, at least in the short term. After all, the schools exist to offer college credit to high-school kids. College enrollment is the intervention. What’s surprising to me is the consistent finding that the schools are lowering high-school dropout rates…..

…..Another evaluation I can’t wait to see is coming from MDRC:

The school provides students with an enriched curriculum that is aligned with actual employment opportunities with industry partner IBM and that enables them to earn both a high school diploma and a cost-free Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in six years. Students have professional mentors, substantive workplace experiences (which differ from school to school), and internships… The impact study will take advantage of New York City’s lottery-based high school admissions process to define sets of students who randomly won and students who lost the opportunity to attend one of the P-TECH 9-14 schools. The study will measure outcomes for multiple cohorts of students enrolled in the schools between the 2011-2012 school year and the 2020-2021 school year.

Talk about blurring the line between high school and the rest of life.

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