This issue brief, published by the National High School Center, suggests that transitions into high school can be eased when both structural and specialized curricula reforms are in place.
This “snapshot,” published by the National High School Center, explains how Thomas A. Edison High School in Philadelphia implemented a Ninth-Grade Success Academy.
This policy brief, published by the National High School Center, focuses on five key challenges that states, districts, and schools should address to support a successful transition into high school.
MDRC’s research on Career Academies, First Things First, Project GRAD, and Talent Development suggests that the twin pillars of high school reform are structural changes to improve personalization and instructional improvement.
The Effects of Four Popular Improvement Programs
This research brief, published by the National High School Center, draws on findings from four studies by MDRC that shed light on both the nature of the problems found in low-performing high schools and on the effectiveness of promising interventions that attempt to address those problems.
The Effect of Project GRAD on High School Student Outcomes in Three Urban School Districts
This report describes the effects of Project GRAD, an ambitious education reform that targets high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them, on a variety of student outcomes in high schools in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio.
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.
An Exploratory Analysis
This analysis of data collected in MDRC’s evaluation of the First Things First reform initiative confirms that high school students’ engagement in school and perceptions of their own academic competence influence their mathematics achievement. The study also suggests that perceived academic competence may be more influential than engagement in boosting achievement in both mathematics and reading.
Findings from the First Implementation Year
Based on survey data and findings from interviews and observations, this report describes the First Things First reform initiative and its first year of implementation at seven secondary schools, with a focus on three key components: small learning communities, a family advocacy system, and instructional improvement strategies.