Policymakers and educators at the state, district, and building levels are looking to research and evaluation studies to guide policy and practice decisions. Increasingly, applications for federal and state funding require use of “evidence based” or “research supported” strategies, programs, and reform activities.
Five years ago, finding information on what works in high schools was extremely challenging. There was, and remains, a dearth of high school research and the research that exists is often scattered about in a multitude of research journals and reports. There were few syntheses that policymakers and practitioners could use to make decisions at the pace required by their jobs.
Things have gotten better over the past five years. Substantial federal resources have been invested to synthesize research and evaluation on high schools, and other education levels, as well as report on the quality of the studies.
Here we draw readers’ attention to one particularly useful suite of informational documents—the Institute of Education Sciences’ Practice Guides. Developed by a panel of nationally recognized experts, the practice guides provide practical, actionable recommendations on important education topics. Examples of guides that offer information on high school policy and practice include:
- Dropout Prevention
- Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do
- Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making
- Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools
- Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices
- Structuring Out-of-School Time to Improve Academic Achievement
Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.