This research synthesis from the Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ) Center reviewed the research on middle and high school comprehensive school reform (CSR) models. Different CSR models are described and the research evaluating these models is examined across several areas, including impact on student achievement, overall and by subject; effects for diverse populations; and other outcomes, such as parent, family, and community involvement; and services and support provided to schools to enable successful implementation.
Transition: Middle School to High School
This WestEd case study of five schools looks at successes in improving graduation and college acceptance rates. The schools were also profiled in a 2004 report, and each school has strengthened its courses in both rigor and number offered. The authors highlight five lessons from each of the schools including: helping students see college as an attainable goal; strengthening academic programs; ensuring a coherent curriculum from middle grades through high school; providing extra support during students’ critical freshmen year; and drawing out-of-school youth back into the classroom.
This article describes the history of the 9th-grade bulge problem and discusses promising reforms.
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.
This ACT, Inc., policy report discusses and investigates the inconsistencies between a typical high school curriculum and what a student needs to know in order to be prepared for the workforce or postsecondary education. The report also stresses that the lack of academic rigor found in many high schools plays a part in the ensuing disconnect.
This report, commissioned by the California Teachers Association’s (CTA) High School Restructuring Task Force and authored by WestEd, synthesizes the major initiatives on high school reform taking place nationally and in California. The publication provides: 1) clear synthesis of the problem and context; 2) research on high-performing high schools, comprehensive school reform models, and the barriers to improvement; 3) current reform proposals and their research base; and 4) suggestions for further discussion and exploration by CTA.
This report from MDRC looks at how three different high school reform models--Career Academies, First Things First, and Talent Development--addressed five challenges found to be obstacles to successful reform implementation in low-performing high schools. According to this report, the pillars of high school reform are structural changes to improve personalization and instructional improvement. The report offers tangible solutions as well as supporting evidence and various resources.
This paper from the Center for American Progress examines high schools that implement an extended learning day as part of a required educational program for all students, explores issues related to implementing such a program, presents examples of how schools accomplish this, and analyzes the implications for school design, capacity, and financing.
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.
After a thorough literature search, researchers identified 22 rigorous quantitative studies of ninth-grade remediation programs, 10 of which qualified for the full review according to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)’s Study Design and Implementation Assessment Device (DIAD). The 10 studies included in the full review were too divergent in the focus and construction of the programs they assessed for the authors to reliably draw conclusions about the overall magnitude and direction of effect sizes.