What We Are Reading: High School Stats, Dropout Prevention, On Track for College and Career, Education Technology, Youth Employment

Looking for new high school-related resources? Here are some pieces that the National High School Center and other organizations have recently released:*

Quick Stats Fact Sheet: High Schools in the United States (National High School Center, December 12, 2012) This fact sheet provides demographic and achievement statistics for high schools in the United States. It includes information about the number of high schools and high school students in the United States, as well as facts on students with disabilities, English language learners, school funding, transition from high school to college, and high school graduation rates.

Inseparable Imperatives: Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy (Alliance for Excellent Education, November 26, 2012). According to this report, U.S. policymakers searching for a formula to rebuild the economy must include equity in their equation. This equation has only one conclusion: in an information-age economy dependent upon consumer activity, any successful economic strategy must eliminate the gaps in education attainment and achievement and enable the fastest-growing populations to reach their full potential as wage earners, consumers, and citizens.

Getting Students on Track to College and Career Readiness: How Many Catch Up from Far Behind? (ACT, Inc., November, 2012). This report focuses on students who start out far off track—well below the achievement level that students with average growth trajectories need to reach the ACT benchmarks by the end of high school. In addition to reporting aggregate statewide and nationwide data, the authors examined school-level data, and used school-level analyses to determine how much better the highest performing ten percent of schools did with students who started out far off track.

  •  Catching Up To College and Career Readiness This brief, also from ACT, Inc., and based on the report cited above, uses information on the percentage of students reaching college and career readiness targets over a four-year period as an indicator of the difficulty of doing so, focusing on students who start out far off track.

Improving the College Scorecard: Using Student Feedback to Create an Effective Disclosure (Center for American Progress, November 2012). This report uses the government college scorecard project as an opportunity to explore how testing might lead to more effective disclosures. The authors asked college-bound high school students to provide feedback for feedback on design, content, and overall effectiveness of the college scorecard. The report discusses the findings of these focus groups, make recommendations specific to the college scorecard project, and draw some overall recommendations for improving the readability and usability of government disclosures.

Limited Out-of-State Data Needed to Produce Robust Indicators (Data Quality Campaign, November 2012). This publication discusses three high-stakes, high-priority questions currently affecting education and highlight the impact of state-by-state mobility data on the following policy priorities: 1) High School Graduation Rates: How many students graduate from high school on time, according to the four-year adjusted cohort rate, by high school? 2) Postsecondary Success: What percentages of high school graduates attend and succeed in postsecondary education, by high school? 3) Educator Preparation: How effective are educator preparation programs?

Meeting Policymakers’ Education Responsibilities Requires Cross-State Data Collaboration, Sharing, and Comparability (Data Quality Campaign, November 2012). States have responsibilities to ensure that transferring students receive uninterrupted education and services, produce indicators that provide a complete picture, and ensure that information is comparable across states. However, states’ and districts’ ability to meet these responsibilities requires data capacity that can be undermined due to significant mobility of students and teachers across state lines and lack of comparability across states, as shown in this report.

Born in Another Time: Ensuring Educational Technology Meets the Needs of Students Today – and Tomorrow (National Association of State Boards of Education, December 4, 2012). The 2012 Study Group on the Role of Technology in Schools and Communities was asked to examine how the digital age has affected the learning needs of students, and how state boards can ensure their schools are prepared to address the impact of rapid technological change on the processes of teaching and learning. The Study Group also analyzed how the issues around educational technology intersect with other school reforms, including the Common Core and other college- and career- ready standards.

Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, December 2012). This policy report describes the scale of the challenge faced in connecting young people, ages 16 to 24, to jobs and opportunity. The authors also set forth the steps needed to ensure that young people have the academic know-how, the technical skills and the essential “soft skills” to hold a job and launch a career. The best way to build these critical skills is to help young people find jobs or work-like activities. The report stresses the need to expand interventions that are putting youth to work and align them with public investment.   *Resource descriptions provided by the sponsoring organization.

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.

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