Many students lose their way academically in ninth grade, never recover, and never graduate high school. Ninth Grade Academies aim to ease the transition into high school by creating smaller learning communities for ninth-graders. This report evaluates one urban school district’s effort to implement this complex reform districtwide.
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.
Relying on 427 classroom observations conducted over a three-year period, this study traces changes in teachers’ instructional practices in the First Things First schools.
Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Ninth-Grade Students’ Engagement and Performance
An examination of the implementation and early impacts of Talent Development, a whole-school reform initiative, found that the model produced substantial gains in ninth-grade students’ course completion and promotion rates.