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ECS High School Policy Center (HSPC)


The High School Agenda: Who's Doing What MS Word PDF - This document provides information on the projects, initiatives and products of ECS and other national education and policy organizations on the subject of improving high schools. It is designed to direct policymakers to groups and resources that might be useful in developing and implementing effective policy on high schools and highlight important resources for anyone concerned with improving high schools. (Kathy Christie, ECS, May 2005)...

Highlights -- Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy MS Word - This excerpt of a report by the Alliance for Excellent Education offers a great summary of the current literature on middle and high school literacy, and contains concrete recommendations for state and district action. Also included at the bottom of this document is a list of other useful resources on adolescent literacy. (Katy Anthes, Education Commission of the States, November 2004)...

The Progress of Education Reform: High School Curriculum MS Word PDF - Research shows that the kind and level of courses high school students take affects their performance on tests, their readiness for college-level work and their persistence toward a degree. Also looks at what a rigorous high school curriculum should look like. (Suzanne Weiss, The Progress of Education Reform 1999-2001, vol. 3, no. 1, Education Commission of the States, August-September 2001)...

Many States Tie High School Diploma to Exams MS Word - In order to increase the numbers of well-prepared young adults, nearly all states have set standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. This is an article from the Fall 2000 ECS State Education Leader....

The High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09)--A First Look at Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders - HSLS:09 is the fifth in a series of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) high school longitudinal studies that began in 1972 and have been continued with each new decade. This report presents findings from the base-year survey of the newly launched High School Longitudinal Study of 2009. (U.S. Department of Education, June 2011)...

STEM Coursetaking Among High School Graduates, 1990-2005 - Educators and experts in technical fields have expressed concern about the academic preparation of U.S. students in STEM fields. Using data from NAEP Transcript Study, this brief compares STEM coursetaking among 2005 high school graduates with that of 1990 and 2000 graduates. Graduates from the class of 2005 earned more credits in advanced mathematics, advanced science and engineering, and STEM-related technical courses than did their 1990 peers. Gains were found across gender, racial/ethnic groups, and community types. (MPR Associates Inc., December 2009)...

Next Generation of School Accountability: A Blueprint for Raising High School Achievement and Graduation Rates in SREB States - Report outlines how states can make the improvement of high school graduation rates a central focus of school accountability. Beyond this, the report calls for accountabiilty policies to push for student achievement that goes beyond minimum expectations and extends to students' readiness for college and careers. All states need graduates who are better prepared for college and advanced career training. (Gene Bottoms, Dave Spence, Marna Young, Southern Regional Education Board, October 2009)...

Engaging the Voices of Students: A Report on the 2007 & 2008 High School Survey of Student Engagement - While students often are portrayed as not caring about school or learning, many are looking for something more complex than statistics can measure. The results of this survey reveal that students are looking to be interacted with, cared about, challenged and valued. Schools that listen to their students and utilize their survey data to take action have started down the path to engaging students. (High School Survey of Student Engagement, 2009)...

Still a Freshman: Examining the Prevalence and Characteristics of Ninth-Grade Retention Across Six States - This report is designed to show the potential of what we could learn if ninth-grade retention data were made readily available by states. Because retention data and unadjusted counts of first-time ninth-graders are not yet available, it is still necessary to estimate. By introducing a new approach, the first-time ninth-grade estimate, this study provides state-level estimates of ninth-grade retention and examines school-level rates of ninth-grade retention by location, size, available resource, socioeconomic and race/ethnic composition. (Thomas C. West, Everyone Graduates Center, 2009)...

High Schools for Equity - At a time when the achievement gap in California is large and appears unchanging, some high schools are beating the odds. This paper documents the practices and outcomes of five urban high schools in California that do an extraordinary job of preparing their students for success in higher education, productive careers and a fulfilling life. The schools -- both district run and charters -- serve populations that are predominantly low-income students of color in California’s largest cities. This study focuses on policy conditions and supports that help to create and sustain these and other successful urban schools. (The School Redesign Network, November 2007)...

Closing the Aspirations-Attainment Gap: Implications for High School Reform - While over 90% of the juniors surveyed in three predominately African American and Latino high schools said they hoped to attend a four-year college, the researcher found that only 6.5 of 100 entering freshmen in the Chicago Public Schools would graduate from a four-year college within six years. This paper identifies specific strategies likely to increase students' likelihood of achieving their stated goals. Strategies include increasing students' readiness for high school-level work, and focusing on course failure and 9th grade. The author indicates activities likely to increase students' persistence to and through postsecondary, such as requiring high schools to provide the information and academic experiences that will communicate to students and their families what "preparation" for college actually entails. (Melissa Roderick, Consortium on Chicago School Research, University of Chicago, April 2006)...

Professional Communities and Instructional Improvement Practices: A study of small high schools in Chicago - This report examines the instructional improvement practices of teacher professional communities in seven Chicago High School Redesign Initiative schools. The authors note that teachers most commonly talked about instruction in informal one-on-one exchanges rather than through group activities to improve their members' collective instructional capacity and change core instructional practices. The researchers likewise report that the daily demands of teaching left teachers with little time to address instructional issues in a systematic or sustained manner within teacher teams, though one school with clear instructional priorities and strong leadership was able to facilitate ongoing discussions on building core instructional practices. The study provides questions school leaders and policymakers should ask in implementing professional development programs for teachers. (W. David Stevens, with Joseph Kahne, Consortium on Chicago School Research, January 2006)...

Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different? - This 12-page brief suggests that young people entering college or workforce training programs after high school graduation need to be educated to a comparable level of readiness in reading and math. This conclusion is reached by: (1) Identifying the level of reading and mathematics skills students need to be ready for entry-level jobs that require less than a bachelor’s degree, pay a wage sufficient to support a family and offer the potential for career advancement; (2) Comparing student performance on ACT tests that measure workforce readiness with those that measure college readiness; and (3) Determining if the levels of performance needed for college and workforce readiness are the same or different. The authors clarify that while there may be differences in the contexts in which these skills and knowledge are imparted, the level of expectation must be the same. (ACT, Inc., 2006) ...

The Link Between High School Reform and College Access and Success for Low-Income and Minority Youth - This study examines programs and policies that can help underserved youth complete high school ready for postsecondary education. The mechanisms considered include aligning high school curricula and assessments with college entrance requirements; aligning systems through dual enrollment, early and middle colleges, Tech Prep and 2+2 Articulation, Project GRAD and GEAR UP; and numerous programs that target both academic and social support, such as AVID, Coalition of Essential Schools, First Things First, High Schools That Work, Talent Development High Schools, GE Foundation College Bound and small learning environments. The report concludes with seven recommendations for stakeholders. An eight-page summary also is available. (Monica Martinez and Shayna Klopott, American Youth Policy Forum and Pathways to College Network, 2005)...

Enhancing High School Reform: Lessons from Site Visits to Four Cities - This report identifies essential elements of successful high schools, based on visits to nearly 20 schools and youth programs in San Diego, Cleveland, New York City and Boston, examples of how these elements were implemented at various school sites, and the implications for policy. The study also provides profiles of four successful high schools that may serve as models for others, and points out the issues in high school reform policymakers and reformers have yet to address. The essential elements: (1) High expectations by school leaders for students and teachers, matched with accountability standards and ongoing assessment; (2) An emphasis on small and personalized learning communities; (3) Sustained professional development for teachers and principals; (4) Close school-community links; (5) Flexibility over hiring, budgets, curriculum and scheduling, and the freedom to modify strategies based on student learning and needs. (Betsy Brand, American Youth Policy Forum, November 2005)...

A Profile of the American High School Senior in 2004: A First Look - The profile presented in this report examines four factors: (1) tested achievement, (2) educational aspirations, (3) most important factors in choosing a college, and (4) life goals or values. The data on these indicators are examined by a number of student demographic characteristics – native language, socioeconomic status and parents’ education – as well as other characteristics, including highest math coursework and students' educational expectations. Of the sample 3 million high school seniors, 45.5% reported completing trigonometry, pre-calculus or calculus. The largest segment, 35.5%, expected to earn a graduate or professional degree, while another 33.5% expected to earn a bachelor’s degree. Only 8.3% of students who had completed trigonometry, pre-calculus or calculus scored at the highest level of math proficiency. (Steven J. Ingels, Michael Planty and Robert Bozick, National Center for Education Statistics, October 2005)...

Building a Portfolio of High Schools: A Strategic Investment Toolkit - The one-size-fits-all, comprehensive high school will not meet the needs of the 21st century economy, and a diverse portfolio of high schools should take its place, say the authors of this report. The report walks reformers through the paces of developing and sustaining such a portfolio, and includes tools describing 10 research-based features of effective high schools, profiles of students likely to be at risk, potential factors contributing to students’ decision to drop out and the trade-offs to consider in weighing the various components of diverse high school structures. (Lili Allen, Cheryl Almeida, Lucretia Murphy and Adria Steinberg, Jobs for the Future, May 2005)...

The On-Track Indicator as a Predictor of High School Graduation - The authors define an on-track student as one who at the end of the freshman year has: (1) accumulated five full course credits (the number to be promoted to grade 10 in Chicago); and (2) has no more than one semester “F” in English, math, social studies or science. They determine this is a highly predictive indicator of high school graduation, more accurate than a student’s background or 8th-grade academic achievement. The report also indicates the percentage of on-track students rose from 48% to 58% from 1995-96 to 2003-04, because students were attempting more credits during their freshman year and passing them at higher rates. The report concludes with ideas on how the results of the study can help schools improve their graduation and dropout rates. (Elaine M. Allensworth and John Q. Easton, Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago, June 2005) [May experience a delay when downloading.]...

Improving the Educational Possibilities of Urban High School Students as They Transition from 8th to 9th Grade - This study reports the findings of an ongoing collaborative partnership between the UCLA EASE Project, The Dream Foundation and the educators at Valley High School to develop and evaluate a transition model that creates “a college-going culture” among entering 9th-grade students. The authors offer four policy recommendations for facilitating effective and successful transitions from middle school to high school and ultimately to high school graduation: (1) allocate resources to support and oversee the 9th-grade transition; (2) fund programs that create opportunities for positive peer networks; (3) educate families about the importance of the 9th-grade transition; and (4) create opportunities for 9th graders to take part in multiple activities and programs such as cultural and social-skill enrichment, mentoring and access to technology to help “over-determine” success. (Robert Cooper and Suzanne Markoe-Hayes, University of California All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity, September 2005)...

Pathways to College Access and Success - This report contains case studies of programs in five states – California, Iowa, Minnesota, New York and Texas – aimed at transitioning high school students into and through college. Evaluating a variety of programs – including a middle college, an International Baccalaureate program, a tech-prep program and two dual-enrollment programs – the study considers the programs’ (1) student recruitment and selection processes, (2) curricula, (3) support services, and (4) data collection and use. Barriers to program implementation also are noted. The appendix offers more detailed profiles of each research site. Among the recommendations for policymakers and practitioners: encourage broad student access; build strong collaborative relationships; and work with researchers to gather outcomes data. (Katherine L. Hughes, Melinda Mechur Karp, Baranda Fermin and Thomas R. Bailey, U.S. Department of Education, September 2005)...

High School Roundtable: NCEA's Jean Rutherford Discusses America's High Schools at ECS MS Word PDF - This six-page brief addresses the questions of: What's wrong with our high schools? What does the research say about solutions? What are the implications for high school reformers? And what should the state role (and state policy) be? The author proposes that the intersection of unspecified content in courses, the separation of high school reform from larger K-12 reform and a lack of data are all equally to blame for the current situation of U.S. high schools. The author notes five themes common to high-performing school systems. Among the recommendations for state policymakers: implement longitudinal student information systems to gather the data needed for meaningful reform, and make state standards clearer. (Jean Rutherford, National Center for Educational Accountability, July 2005)...

Making Progress Toward Graduation: Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model - This report evaluates the impact of the Talent Development High School Model on 20 cohorts of 9th-grade students in Philadelphia. The authors identify the key problems students face in underperforming high schools and the model’s structural elements that address these problems and evaluate the model’s implementation in high schools in the district. Among the numerous findings: “Talent Development produced strong impacts on credits earned, promotion rates and attendance rates during the first year of high school” but “had mixed results for students ... repeating the 9th grade.” In addition, as 9th graders in Talent Development high schools made their way through high school, they continued to earn more total credits and earn required credits in English and math. An eight-page executive summary also is available. (James J. Kemple, Corinne M. Herlihy and Thomas J. Smith, MDRC, May 2005)...

Improving High School: A Strategic Approach - This report examines the representation, experiences and outcomes of three groups of high school students: dropouts; youth in the “general” track who graduate without qualifying for a four-year university; and the “university” track. The author considers the impact of certain state policies on members of these groups, and numerous recommended state actions to improve the outcomes of students in all three groups. The study proposes five key elements of a dropout prevention strategy, state actions to reduce dropout rates, improved vocational education options and career path counseling and information, ways to ensure “university” track students are indeed ready for postsecondary expectations and much more. Among the many specific recommendations: state universities should use state high school assessments as a major factor in admissions and placement decisions. (Paul Warren, California Legislative Analyst’s Office, May 2005)...

Rethinking High School: Five Profiles of Innovative Models for Student Success - The authors profile five high schools in different regions of the United States – TechBoston in Boston; Dayton Early College Academy in Dayton, Ohio; Northtown Academy in Chicago; Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver; and High Tech High in San Diego – looking at the programs’ distinguishing characteristics, student populations and academic achievement. Although all five high schools serve predominately low-income, high-minority student populations, the programs boast student achievement and attendance rates well beyond those in their surrounding districts. At two of the sites, 100% of the seniors applied to college and 100% graduated from high school, in comparison to district graduation rates ranging from 49-61%. (Tracy A. Huebner and Grace Calisi Corbett, WestEd for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2005)...

A Call To Action: Transforming High School for All Youth - This paper provides a comprehensive approach to high school reform, presenting six core principles required to create deep and lasting change: (1) personalized learning environments; (2) academic engagement of all students; (3) empowered educators; (4) accountable leaders; (5) engaged community and youth; and (6) integrated system of high standards, curriculum instruction, assessments and supports. The paper includes recommended strategies for addressing each of the core principles. (The Institute of Educational Leadership, Inc., April 2005)...

Fast Track to College: Increasing Postsecondary Success for All Students - The author of this paper identifies the principles that should guide any effort to mend the current gaps in the academic pipeline, and sets forth three “fast track to college” alternatives to the traditional high school – “An Academic Head Start on College,” “An Accelerated Career/Technical College” and “A Gap Year/College in the Community” – to ensure all students complete a recognized postsecondary credential by age 26. The paper notes the common features of these approaches, their capacity to reconnect dropouts, the potential challenges and benefits of these programs, and recommendations on a state framework for fast track to college initiatives. While observing that financing and ensuring quality will pose the greatest challenges in implementing these options, the author points out their favorable prospects for long-term return on investment. (Hilary Pennington, Jobs for the Future, December 2004)...

The High School Transcript Study: A Decade of Change in Curricula and Achievement, 1990-2000 - This report presents findings from the 2000 High School Transcript Study (HSTS 2000) and examines the trends and changes in high school curriculum and student coursetaking patterns from 1990 to 2000. The study indicates that graduates examined in each racial subgroup earned increasingly more course credits and posted higher gradepoint averages. In addition, researchers identified a strong positive correlation between graduates' math and science GPAs and their NAEP 2000 math and science assessment scores. Some of the study’s findings are summarized on The NAEP High School Transcript Study Web site which offers fast facts on trends in coursetaking, gradepoint averages and the link between high school NAEP scores and coursetaking. (Robert Perkins, Brian Kleiner, Stephen Roey and Janis Brown, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2004)...

Leaks in the Postsecondary Pipeline: A Survey of Americans - How well do Americans feel the nation’s education system is moving young people through the system—to high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment and completion? Among the findings in this survey of over 1,000 American adults: a vast majority of Americans believe some or major changes are needed in the nation’s high schools and postsecondary institutions. Nearly six in 10 feel better coordination is needed to help students move from high school to college and succeed once they are there. Respondents also weigh in on the importance of a college degree, the biggest problems facing the secondary and postsecondary education systems, and who should play the largest role in helping young people through the pipeline. (Jobs for the Future, fall 2003)...

A Profile of the American High School Sophomore in 2002: Initial Results from the Base Year of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 - This report expands on the findings of an April 2004 report on a nationally representative sample of high school sophomores in 2002. The study provides demographic information on the Class of 2004, including student sex, age, race, native language, family composition/income, parental education and occupation. Data also are presented on students’ educational expectations, tested achievement in reading and math, perceptions of their school and teachers, of school safety and reasons for going to school, extracurricular and sports activities, use of time (including homework and computer use) and the differences in this use by sex, ethnic group, and other indicators, and values, expectations and plans. (Steven J. Ingels, Laura J. Burns, Stephanie Charleston, Xianglei Chen, Emily Forrest Cataldi and Jeffrety A. Owings, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2005)...

Big Buildings, Small Schools: Using a Small Schools Strategy for High School Reform - Two key decision points – pace of change and locus of control – are inherent in any decision to convert a large high school into multiple small schools. This report describes how real districts have successfully used the “incremental” and “big bang” time frames as well as the “inside”, “outside” and “partnership” loci of control in the creation of small high schools. The authors consider the benefits and drawbacks to each of these five options as they relate to several areas of school operations. The study also considers the unique issues small schools must face, including balancing autonomy and accountability, engendering innovation without isolation, promoting and assessing school quality and offering choice without creating a de facto hierarchy of high schools. [Free registration required to access report.] (Lili Allen and Adria Steinberg, Jobs for the Future, December 2004)...

Redesigning High Schools to Prepare Students for the Future - This policy brief relates the recent dismal high school graduation rates and indicators of college preparedness, and points to three issues – lack of universal access to rigorous high school curricula, non-enrollment in advanced-level classes and need for remedial coursework in college – that indicate problems with the current structure of the comprehensive high school. The authors propose seven modifications to the traditional high school structure – from competency-based promotion to middle-college high schools – to remedy these shortcomings, and examine what Indiana is doing to improve students’ preparedness for post-high school work and study. Conclusions and recommendations for action also are provided. (Jonathan A. Plucker, Jason S. Zapf and Terry E. Spradlin, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Winter 2004)...

The High School Sophomore Class of 2002: A Demographic Description. First Results From the Base Year of the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 - Through a nationally representative probability sample of 15,362 10th-graders in public and private schools in spring 2002, the authors provide a demographic snapshot of the Class of 2004. In addition to the regular demographic information on race, sex and age, the description provides information on students’ family composition, parental education, educational experiences, tested achievement, and more. (Steven J. Ingels and Leslie A. Scott, National Center for Education Statistics, April 2004) ...

On Course for Success: A Close Look at Selected High School Courses That Prepare All Students for College - The authors examined the college-track courses in 10 high-achieving high schools nationwide – some of which serve high-minority, high-poverty student populations – to identify common components of these successful programs. Students in the college-oriented trajectory were found to have: (1) college-oriented course content; (2) qualified and experienced teachers; (3) teaching that is flexible and responsive to students; and (4) extra student support when needed. The report also presents model course syllabi for grades 10 and 11 English, geometry, Algebra II, precalculus, and the college-preparatory counterparts in these subjects as well as biology, chemistry and physics. Numerous recommendations are provided, including that all students be taught a rigorous, college-oriented curriculum.Check out the summary in our Research Studies Database.(ACT and The Education Trust, 2005)...

Dual Credit and Exam-Based Courses in U.S. Public High Schools: 2002-03 - This and its companion piece – Dual Enrollment of High School Students at Postsecondary Institutions: 2002-03 – are the first national reports on the characteristics of dual-credit courses. The findings address the (1) prevalence of dual credit, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) course offerings in U.S. public high schools; (2) location and educational focus of dual-credit courses; (3) characteristics of courses for dual credit (course sequence, course instructors, student composition); and (4) eligibility requirements for enrolling in dual-credit courses. Statistics are disaggregated by school size, urbanicity, geographic region and percent minority enrollment. According to the report, over six in 10 schools offering dual-credit courses set eligibility requirements for students to enroll in such courses; in 42% of such schools, one requirement was teacher recommendation. (Tiffany Waits, J. Carl Setzer and Laurie Lewis, National Center for Education Statistics, April 2005)...

Holding High Hopes: How High Schools Respond to State Accountability Policies - This policy brief examines how 48 low-performing high schools in 34 districts in six states responded to state accountability policies. While some schools did receive guidance from outside assistance providers, the decision-making processes in a majority of the high schools “were often haphazard and left up to individual teachers acting on their own initiative.” The authors identify three factors that appear to push districts to make high schools raise student achievement: the high school’s previous performance, the size of the district central office and district leadership supportive of their state’s accountability system. (Margaret E. Goertz and Diane Massell, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, January 2005)...

The Alternative Pathways Project: A Framework for Dropout Reduction and Recovery - This report explains the elements essential to alternative pathways that ready all students for college and the workplace. The authors propose two prerequisites for such a system – balanced school reform and early intervention strategies – as well as six system components: (1) shared responsibility and systemic coordination; (2) adequate supply of choice-based, high-quality alternatives; (3) ability to refer, transition and re-enroll; (4) guidance and advocacy; (5) flexible demonstrations of proficiency; and (6) policy incentives. An assessment tool allows users to evaluate whether their school possesses the defined prerequisites and is in the early, growth or advanced stages of addressing each of the six system components. (J.D. Hoye and Chris Sturgis, The Alternative Pathways Project, June 2005)...

Works in Progress: A Report on Middle and High School Improvement Programs - This study identifies key issues at the secondary level, summarizes the main challenges within the issue, and concisely presents research-based programs addressing the issue. Middle level issues include: (1) Transition from elementary to middle school; (2) Literacy and reading; (3) English language learners; (4) Violence and bullying; (5) Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; (6) Parental involvement; and (7) Transition to high school. High school issues are: (1) Literacy and reading; (2) English language learners; (3) Dropouts; (4) Violence; (5) Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and (6) Transition from high school to a postsecondary setting. (The Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, January 2005)...

Ready for Tomorrow: Helping All Students Achieve Secondary and Postsecondary Success - Billed as a “guide for governors” and written with governors’ input, this report examines the causes and consequences of the “leaky education pipeline,” and proposes five specific means by which states can repair those leaks, as well as examples of how states are already putting these methods into practice. The five approaches are: (1) set a statewide peformance benchmark for postsecondary attainment, disaggregated by subgroups; (2) create a K-16 data system to track all youth over time; (3) better align K-12 and postsecondary expectations and incentives; (4) promote learning options that combine secondary and postsecondary experiences; and (5) focus on improving achievement for students in low-performing high schools to prepare these students for postsecondary success. (Richard Kazis, Hilary Pennington and Kristin D. Conklin, National Governors Association, 2003)...

Value Added: The Costs and Benefits of College Preparatory Programs - This cost-benefit analysis provides research and recommendations for policymakers to maximize the effectiveness of pre-college preparatory programs. Included in the suggestions is the need for high-quality information to conduct high-quality analysis and the consideration of intangible factors and outcomes, including costs associated with the program that aren’t always calculated. Equally important is the need to focus on both long- and short-term impacts of college-prep programs. While short-term impacts such as program retention or gradepoint averages of participants are valuable indicators, the longer-term outcomes that track the effects of outreach programs are ultimately more indicative of program success. (Watson Scott Swail, Educational Policy Institute, November 2004)...

The Talent Development High School Model: Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Ninth-Grade Students’ Engagement and Performance - This study evaluates the impact of the Talent Development High School comprehensive reform model in five large high schools in an urban district. The model seeks to address: (1) low student engagement, (2) poor prior preparation, (3) low 9th-grade promotion rates, (4) low graduation rates and (5) isolation from the community. The researchers found that first-time 9th graders in Talent Development schools completed a core academic curriculum at higher rates, were more likely to be promoted and had better attendance rates than demographically similar nonTalent Development schools in the same district. An executive summary also is available. (James J. Kemple and Corinne M. Herlihy, MDRC, June 2004)...

Youth Suicide - A concise, invaluable backgrounder on the causes and prevention of youth suicide. The brief considers the prevalence and methods of youth suicide, as well as the factors such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family dynamics, psychiatric disorders, outlook and neurobiology that place an individual at greater or lesser risk. It lists the stresses and factors that may cause a troubled youth to commit or keep a child from committing suicide, and examines the various treatments and interventions available to youth at risk of attempting suicide. The brief also briefly touches upon the goals of the 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and offers suggestions of what symptoms parents might observe in a child at risk of attempting suicide. In a similar vein, but with more information specific to the role of schools in suicide prevention see Questions and Answers: Suicide Intervention in the Schools by Scott Poland and Richard Lieberman. (Child Study Center Letter, New York University School of Medicine, vol. 5, no. 5, May/June 2001) ...

The 1998 High School Transcript Study Tabulations: Comparative Data on Credits Earned and Demographics for 1998, 1994, 1990, 1987, and 1982 High School Graduates - Examining transcripts from students in both public and nonpublic schools, the researchers note trends in high school coursetaking from 1982 to 1998, as well as the correlation between NAEP proficiency estimates and student coursework in specific subject areas, grade point average, days absent in each grade 9-12 and overall and class size. Transcript data are broken out by gender, race/ethnicity, student program (academic, vocational, both or neither), community type, public vs. nonpublic and census region) Northeast, South, Midwest, West). According to the report, differences in coursetaking among racial/ethnic groups in 1998, while still present, were not as pronounced as in 1994. (Stephen Roey, Nancy Caldwell, Keith Rust, Eyal Blumstein, Tom Krenzke, Stan Legum, Judy Kuhn, Mark Waksberg, Westat, Jacqueline Haynes, National Center for Education Statistics, May 2001)...

Betraying the College Dream: How Disconnected K-12 and Postsecondary Education Systems Undermine Student Aspirations - Within the six states studied (California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and Texas), the authors found that over 80% of African-American and Latino students surveyed plan to attend some form of postsecondary education. However, this study also found that the states have created multiple barriers between high school and college. Other findings highlighted issues such as inequalities in college counseling, college preparation course offerings and connections with local postsecondary institutions. In addition to the full report, there is a policy brief and executive summary available. (Michael Kirst, Andrea Venezia and Anthony L. Antonio, Stanford University, March 2003)...

From Large to Small: Strategies for Personalizing the High School - The conversion of large high schools into small, focused learning environments is gaining popularity as an education reform strategy in communities across the country. This is a result of research indicating that small high schools generally have higher achievement levels, higher graduation rates, and lower dropout rates, and that they are safer than larger high schools. Strategies that have emerged from the ongoing work of converting large high schools into small ones include communicating a clear vision and mission, building community support and developing a process for continuous improvement. [Free registration required to access report.] (Adria Steinberg and Lili Allen, Jobs For the Future, October 2002)...

How Well Are American Students Learning? - The Brown Center on Education Policy has released its 2002 report on American education. The report is divided into three independent sections: math, high school culture and charter schools. One troubling finding is the suggestion that students’ computation skills have stagnated or even declined in recent years. The report examines this assertion as well as certain aspects of high school culture and test scores of charter schools in 10 states. (Tom Loveless, Brookings Institution, September 2002)...

High School Academic Curriculum and the Persistence Path Through College - The findings of this study demonstrated a consistent advantage for students who completed rigorous high school curricula – and to a lesser extent for those completing mid-level curricula – over their peers enrolled in lower-level courses. Students who completed rigorous curricula were more likely to stay enrolled in their first institution or, if they transferred, to stay on track to a bachelor’s degree. The more challenging courses also may help students overcome socioeconomic disadvantages such as low family income and parents with no college experience. (National Center for Education Statistics, August 2001)...

Overcoming the High School Senior Slump: New Education Policies - Education Week Review MS Word - The strategy for keeping high school seniors seriously engaged in academic work lies in better coordination between K-12 school systems and colleges and universities, according to this report from the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) and The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (NCPPHE). The author makes suggestions on how high schools can address the problem to make senior year a priority. The report can be ordered from IEL, 1001 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20036; 202-822-8405; or e-mail: iel@iel.org. (Michael W. Kirst, IEL and NCPPHE, May 2001)...


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