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.
How New York City’s New Small Schools Are Boosting Student Achievement and Graduation Rates
Taking advantage of lottery-like features in New York City’s high school admissions process, this study provides rigorous evidence that new small public high schools are narrowing the educational attainment gap and markedly improve graduation prospects, particularly for disadvantaged students.
High Schools and Their Characteristics, 2002-2008
This report examines the sweeping transformation of New York City’s public high school system — the nation’s largest — during the first decade of the twenty-first century, when nearly 200 new small high schools were created. Two companion reports focus on the role of intermediaries in this reform effort and provide case studies of six schools.
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.