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High SchoolWhat States Are Doing (Additional Resources)
What States Are Doing
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At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention)
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P-16 or P-20

ECS High School Policy Center (HSPC)

High School-Level Accountability PDF - This ECS StateNote reports the measures or indicators states use for public reporting of the school's performance, the method used to provide notice to schools falling below expectations and the supports offered to assist the school in raising performance, the sanctions which a state may turn to for ensuring performance improves, and the rewards offered to schools by the state when performance heightens. (Melodye Bush, Education Commission of the States, December 2008)...

High School-Level Accountability - This database provides 50-state information on numerous areas related to accountability, including indicators used for determining performance and public reporting, supports provided to struggling schools, sanctions and rewards. (Melodye Bush, Education Commission of the States, October 2007)...

High School-Level Assessment - This 50-state database provides information on key questions related to statewide assessment at the high school level, including whether voluntary or mandatory assessments include college-ready indicators, and whether end-of-course exams are used for exit purposes or NCLB accountability. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, April 2007)...

High School-Level Assessments: Purpose(s) of Exams MS Word PDF - This ECS StateNote indicates the purposes served by statewide assessments administered in grades 9-12. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, February 2007)...

High School-Level Assessments: Subjects Tested MS Word PDF - This ECS StateNote table below indicates the subject areas by state in which students in any grades 9-12 must be administered one or more assessments. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, February 2007)...

Highlights of Local Initiatives Database - This database contains highlights of proven and innovative state and district initiatives to improve high schools. To be included in the database, initiatives must demonstrate that they meet all of the following criteria: (1) Serve a substantial population of traditionally underserved students -- for example, minority, low-income, special needs or first-generation college students; (2) Stable -- most initiatives in this database have been in place for at least three years, although ECS is allowing exceptions for programs producing outstanding results; (3) Produce results based on data rather than anecdote or perception -- results may be measured in improved student attendance, graduation rates, student achievement, postsecondary transition rates, etc.; (4) Replicable -- that efforts can be reproduced elsewhere and do not hinge on the impact of one extraordinary leader; (5) Fiscally sustainable; and (6) Bold and innovative. (Education Commission of the States) ...

P-16 Collaboration in the States MS Word PDF - This ECS StateNote provides information on the activity of state P-16 councils nationwide, including each council's start date, whether the council's work is P-16, K-16 or P-20 in scope, funding to start or maintain the council's work, the council's goals, whether early learning, high school reform or business involvement is a component of the council's efforts and progress to date. (Carl Krueger, Education Commission of the States, June 2006)...

Embedding College Readiness Indicators in High School Curricula and Assessments MS Word PDF - This ECS Policy Brief describes the methods a growing number of states are using to place college readiness indicators in high school coursework and assessments. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, April 2006)...

States Conducting Student Competency Testing for High School Graduation (Exit Exams) MS Word PDF - Nearly all states have set standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. This ECS StateNote updates 2000 information on the various competency tests required in the states for high school graduation. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, December 2002)...

States Conducting Student Competency Testing for High School Graduation (Exit Exams) MS Word - In an effort 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. In addition, many states are using high school exit exams to ensure students have mastered particular skills and content. This report provides information on the various competency tests required in the states for high school graduation. (Education Commission of the States, August 2000)...

Advancing High School Reform in the States: Policies and Programs - The author identifies promising state policies and programs related to specific areas of high school reform: (1) increasing academic rigor, (2) personalized instruction, (3) targeted strategies to support low-performing students, (4) improving reading and writing skills, (5) assessment, (6) high-quality school leaders, (7) highly qualified teachers and (8) high schools identified as in need of improvement. These eight are aligned with the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ recommendations for federal legislation for high school reform. (Monica Martinez, National Association of Secondary School Principals, 2005)...

Student Achievement and Graduation Rates in Nevada: Urgent Need for Faster Improvement - While focusing on the situation in Nevada, this report will be of interest to readers in other states also working to improve high schools. The authors set out the current situation in Nevada, including the status of reform activities in a number of areas and the graduation rate, and explain the policy implications of these factors. The authors’ recommendations: (1) make education a state priority; (2) focus on the preparation, induction and professional development of teachers, with particular emphasis on strategies for teaching English learners; (3) use consistent and relevant data to drive improvement and evaluate progress; (4) identify and use research-based strategies to improve performance and reduce achievement gaps; (5) implement a statewide high school initiative; (6) focus on early childhood; and (7) provide needed resources and support. (Joan McRobbie, Reino Makkonen, WestEd, June 2005)...

A Profile of State Action To Improve America's High Schools - This eight-page report summarizes state high schools policy activity in five areas: (1) restoring value to the high school diploma; (2) redesigning high schools; (3) recruiting, keeping and supporting high-quality teachers; (4) strengthening educational accountability; and (5) improving education governance. According to the report, while all states have expanded college-level learning opportunities, only three states hold high schools accountable for college- and work-ready standards; only three states hold colleges accountable for student retention and completion. (National Governors Association, July 2005)...

Academic Preparation and College Success: Analyses of Indiana’s 2000 High School Class - This report analyzes a database that follows a cohort of students from high school through the first two years in college, focusing explicitly on the impact of high school curricula on college success. The findings provide strong, compelling evidence that a college preparatory curriculum improves academic success in college and indicate that the combination of polices used in Indiana substantially improved academic preparation and college success. The Indiana strategy includes financial incentives for high schools to offer preparatory curricula and for students to complete these programs. (Edward P. St. John, Glenda D. Musoba and Choong-Guen Chung, Indiana University, October 2004)...

Secondary Education: Expect More, Get More MS Word - Throughout the 1980s and 1990s state policies on graduation requirements, standards, core curriculum and assessment underwent tremendous transformation in response to the national report, A Nation At Risk. This article presents the progress states have made in changing policies and practices, as well as some of the obstacles encountered on the path to reform. [Reprinted with permission from Phi Delta Kappan (Kathy Christie, November 1, 2000)]...

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