This research brief, published by the National High School Center, examines the challenges and opportunities presented in evaluating whether an intervention achieves defined goals of increasing students’ educational attainment, employment, and earnings after high school. The brief recommends that evaluations should:
- Distinguish carefully between gross outcomes (such as how many young people attend college after high school) and net impacts (the extent to which these outcomes were caused by the policy or practice being studied, rather than by other factors).
- Explore whether policies and practices have different net impacts for certain subgroups within the high school population.
- Test policies and practices on a reasonably large scale in a variety of real-world settings.
- Include analyses of program implementation and cost.