National High School Center Publishes Briefs for Practitioners by MDRC Experts
Too often today, high school students are inadequately prepared for what is expected of them in postsecondary education and the workforce. Yet promising models exist to help students prepare for life after high school. The National High School Center has just released a set of products that examine what is known about educational interventions that facilitate successful transitions out of high school. The publications are authored by Michael Bangser and Thomas J. Smith, consultants for MDRC. They are:
- Preparing High School Students for Successful Transitions to Postsecondary Education and Employment by Michael Bangser. This issue brief highlights lessons from selected policies and programs designed to improve students’ preparation for postsecondary pathways. The publication summarizes core characteristics of popular interventions in a user-friendly chart, poses overarching implementation questions and challenges, and includes considerations for students with disabilities. The brief notes that a number of promising approaches are available to improve transitions out of high school, but cautions that effective implementation is key.
- Striking the Balance: Career Academies Combine Academic Rigor and Workplace Relevance by Thomas J. Smith. This snapshot takes a closer look at implementation of the Career Academy model, an innovative approach to infuse life relevancy and critical thinking skills into the academic curriculum, in a high school in Oakland, California. Painting a picture of one high school’s experience, the resource documents the mechanics of the program, how it prepares students for college, and the challenges encountered along the way. A recent report from MDRC shows that Career Academies can produce sustained employment and earnings gains, particularly among young men.
- Evaluating the Impact of Interventions That Promote Successful Transitions from High School by Michael Bangser. This research brief examines the challenges and opportunities presented in evaluating whether an intervention achieves defined goals of increasing students’ educational attainment, employment, and earnings after high school.
The National High School Center, established in 2005, serves as a central source of expertise on high school-related issues for the Regional Comprehensive Centers, a national network developed by the U.S. Department of Education. Led by the American Institutes for Research, the National High School Center identifies research-supported improvement programs and tools, offers user-friendly products, and provides technical assistance services to improve secondary education. MDRC is one of several partner organizations participating in the Center.