A rigorous study that takes advantage of lottery-like features in New York City’s high school admissions process demonstrates that new small public high schools that are open to students of all academic backgrounds have substantial impacts on rates of graduation with Regents diplomas for every disadvantaged subgroup of students that was examined.
What Two Rigorous Studies Tell Us
This synthesis reviews findings from two rigorous, large-scale evaluations — the Professional Development in Reading Study and the Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study. Both interventions had only limited effects on teachers’ knowledge and instruction and no impacts on students’ test scores. The report ends with suggestions about how professional development might be improved to achieve better results.
Lessons from Research on Three Reform Models
Recent MDRC evaluations of three high school reform models — Career Academies, First Things First, and Talent Development — offer hope that comprehensive programs can improve low-performing high schools. This research synthesis for policymakers and practitioners offers practical lessons for creating personalized learning environments, helping struggling freshmen, improving instruction, preparing students for the world beyond high school, and stimulating change in overstressed high schools.
Implications for High School Reform
A Commentary from Chicago
In this paper, prepared for MDRC’s 2005 high school reform conference, Melissa Roderick, Co-Director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, contends that the primary goal of high school reform should be to close the gap between the high aspirations of minority and low-income public high school students — most of whom want to go to college — and the low numbers who graduate with the skills they need.