School Improvement

Improving Low-Performing High Schools: Searching for Evidence of Promise

This report presents a review of improvement strategies and reforms that educators and policymakers can develop and implement to support low-performing high schools. The report explains the theories that drive each reform strategy, reviews the evidence supporting the strategies, and provides suggestions for implementing the reforms. Some of the reform strategies include dual enrollment, early college high schools, learning communities, career academies, and charter high schools. 

Traditional and Block Scheduling for College Science Preparation: A Comparison of College Science Success of Students Who Report Different High School Scheduling Plans

This study compares block scheduling to traditional scheduling used for college level science courses. The researchers surveyed more than 7000 high school students enrolled in introductory college biology, chemistry, and physics courses. Survey results revealed that teaching methods were similar in both scheduling types. Students in AB scheduling, especially those in peer tutoring classrooms, performed less well then students in other scheduling conditions.

High School Redesign Initiative

In February 2013, during his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the High School Redesign initiative. The initiative will encourage schools to develop new college and career pathways through a $300 million competitive grant program.  On June 7, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed up with details on the competition. Along with his announcement, the U.S.

The Use of Research within State Education Agencies

On March 22, the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) examined the use of research in the policymaking process in a forum on Capitol Hill titled, “The Use of Research within State Education Agencies.” The event featured new research by Dr. Margaret Goertz, University of Pennsylvania  and Dr. Diane Massell, University of Michigan, on how staff in State Education Agencies (SEAs) access, interpret, and use research to inform their work and how external partners support the dissemination of research within the agency.

On Being College Prep: Examining the Implementation of a 'College for All' Mission in an Urban Charter School

This article presents a four-year case study on the impact that an urban college preparatory charter high school had on the postsecondary outcomes of its graduates. Through analysis of staff and teacher interviews, the impact that logistical constraints and staff turnover had on the implementation of the school’s mission to prepare educationally and socially disadvantaged students for college was revealed.

High School Improvement: Indicators of Effectiveness and School-Level Benchmarks

This document extends the National High School Center’s Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework and offers specific school-level benchmarks that provide a deeper level of detail for each indicator of effectiveness and describe school-level practices that can be implemented to support high school improvement at the local level. High school improvement teams will find this tool useful once they have already identified areas of strengths and concerns through the use of the Center’s self-assessment tool.

A Self-Assessment Tool: A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement

This online self-assessment tool is a starting point for identifying high school improvement priorities and enables users in schools and districts to a) identify the strengths and weaknesses of their current high school reform efforts, and b) align and build on these current and planned reform initiatives to develop a comprehensive high school improvement plan that will result in rigorous and high-quality teaching and learning for all students.


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