Urban high schools are in trouble — high dropout rates, low student achievement, and graduates who are unprepared for the world of work are just some of the disappointing indicators. However, this policy memo, part of our “Looking Forward” series, explains how recent research has uncovered a number of approaches to improving student outcomes and reforming underperforming schools.
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.