Answers in the Tool Box. Academy Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and Bachelor’s Degree Attainment

Using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Studies of 1988 and 2000, this follow-up study explores the characteristics of formal schooling that contribute to the completion of a bachelor’s degree by the time students reached their mid-20s. The rigor of students’ high school curriculum, particularly rigorous mathematics courses, continued to count more than any other precollegiate factor in determining degree completion. Results indicated that not all students have the same access to a rigorous curriculum.

The Relationship Between Advanced Placement and College Graduation: 2005 AP Study Series, Report 1

Students who took Advanced Placement (AP) courses and passed the exams tended to have a higher probability of college graduation compared to students not participating in AP even after controlling for student’s 8th grade mathematics test score, free and reduced price lunch status, average test scores, and percent economically disadvantaged students in the student’s school. The percent of a school’s students who took and passed AP is the best AP-related predictor of the probability of students from that school to graduate from college.

Career Academies: Impacts on Students' Engagement and Performance in High School

This study from MDRC uses a large-scale, multisite, experimental design to determine the effects of Career Academies on a range of student educational, developmental, and work-related outcomes, including student achievement and student engagement. This report provides information on the implementation of Career Academies.

Do Graduation Tests Measure Up? A Closer Look at State High School Exit Exams

This report from Achieve, Inc., looks at high school exit exams and makes the argument that they are, in fact, not challenging enough. The author reviews several state exams, results, and structures and provides recommendations for states and policy makers on how to improve graduation tests and implementation of their assessment systems for graduation.

The Ninth Grade Bottleneck: An Enrollment Bulge in a Transition Year That Demands Careful Attention and Action

This article discusses the nation's declining graduation rate and the increasing percentage of students who are stuck in the 9th-grade bottleneck and fail to progress into 10th grade on time. The resource offers suggestions for reducing the 9th-grade bulge including increasing both visibility of the problem and support services.

Graduation Matters: Improving Accountability For High School Graduation

This brief from The Education Trust explores the need for stronger federal policy that requires high schools to adopt graduation rates – in addition to achievement indicators – as a measure for student and school progress. By identifying varying state-based definitions of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and successful state policies, it suggests ways in which No Child Left Behind (NCLB) can be altered when reauthorized to improve outcomes for all student subgroups across the country.

The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate for Public High Schools from the Common Core of Data: 2002-03 and 2003-04

Based on data reported by state education agencies to the National Center for Education Statistics, this report presents on-time graduation rates for public school students in the school years 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. The U.S. Department of Education has identified this Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) as an important interim measure in response to a growing concern regarding the accuracy and compatibility of state-reported graduation data.

Identifying Potential Dropouts: Key Lessons for Building an Early Warning Data System—A Dual Agenda of High Standards and High Graduation Rates

This report, prepared by Achieve, Inc., for the project Staying the Course: High Standards and Improved Graduation Rates, pushes for states and districts to build longitudinal data systems to track student progress and engagement in the hopes of identifying potential dropouts and at-risk students early enough for successful intervention.


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