Policy: State

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.

Sustaining Focus on Secondary School Reading: Lessons and Recommendations from the Alabama Reading Initiative

This research brief from the National High School Center summarizes student and teacher outcomes, lessons learned, and other findings from an American Institutes for Research evaluation of the Alabama Reading Initiative at the secondary school level. The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) addresses literacy and includes a focus on high school students.

Twenty-Five Years of Educating Children with Disabilities: The Good News and the Work Ahead

This report from the American Youth Policy Forum and the Center for Education Policy examines the work that has been accomplished in educating children with disabilities over the past 25 years since Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975. It also identifies issues that still need to be addressed.

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.

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.

Making Writing Instruction a Priority in America’s Middle and High Schools

This Alliance for Excellent Education policy brief provides an overview of the data collected on student writing achievement, recommends more opportunities for students to practice writing in school, encourages schools to teach better writing instruction, and offers policymakers suggestions on how to support school improvement efforts in this area.

New Hampshire’s Multi-tiered Approach to Dropout Prevention

Many states and districts across the country struggle with designing and implementing coherent dropout prevention initiatives that promote academic advancement, especially for special needs students, who drop out at much higher rates than the general student population. This snapshot from the National High School Center recognizes New Hampshire for its innovative use of data collection and analysis as the key to unlocking the dropout problem.


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