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Full Research Reports
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In the Real World
At A Glance
See It to Believe It
In the Real World
Keeping kids in school: At a glance
This summary outlines the four components of a successful school plan to raise graduation rates: prediction, intervention, prevention and recovery.
Keeping kids in school: What research tells us about preventing dropouts
This report helps make sense of the wide range of actions a district can take to reduce dropout rates, highlighting the policies, practices, and programs that research shows are most likely to make a difference. It is organized around the major components of a comprehensive plan for raising graduation rates:
Prediction – Using data to identify potential dropouts can help districts target scarce resources wisely.
Intervention – Several targeted programs have been successful in helping at-risk students stay in school.
Prevention – Research has shown that schools have more influence over dropouts than originally thought and districts can change the factors under their control to improve the dropout rate.
Recovery – While there is not much research on recovery programs, districts must provide for those students who are not identified and need a second chance, including multiple pathways to graduation and alternative high schools.
The final section on implementation focuses on the intervention and prevention sections, advising districts to employ programs that incorporate multiple strategies, involve proper prevention and well as intervention, and use a data-driven approach to tackling the drop out problem.
Better late than never? At a glance
This At A Glance piece provides a run-down on late graduates, including what does late graduate mean, how to identify them, how well do they do after high school, and what school boards and policy makers can do for this group of students.
Better Late than Never? Examining late high school graduates
This report compares late graduates to GED recipients, drop-outs, and on-time graduates to determine who late graduates are, how they fare after high school, why they graduate late, and how they compare to similar on-time graduates. Given the benefits late graduates show over drop-outs and GED recipients and some of the similarities they show to their on-time counterparts, school board members and policy makers should do what they can to count late graduates as school successes, encourage schools to provide a rigorous curriculum for all, and incorporate effective dropout prevention programs.
Executive summary: Defining a 21st Century education
This in-depth overview of the extensive research in the 21st Century report includes five major take-home lessons, the forces reshaping skills demand, a how-to for districts, and planning implications.
Defining a 21st century education
This paper makes a serious effort to understand what skills will be necessary for students to succeed in their careers and personal lives and what it means to teach those skills in the classroom. The report is divided into three sections: the factors that impact what teachers need to teach, the specific skills most important for high school students to succeed in the 21lst century, and implications for school districts.
The first section gives details about five factors (automation, globalization, workplace change, demographics, and personal risk and responsibility). The second section provides information on the foundational skills, practical literacies, and broader competencies needed by students. Part three ties the pieces together, putting together suggestions for schools, especially focusing the curriculum to help students better apply the skills they need across content areas.
Chasing the college acceptance letter: Is it harder to get into college? At a glance
This report dispels the myth that it is harder to get into college now, including information on the number of applications per student, the credentials needed to apply for college, and what school boards can do to make sure everyone is ready for college.
Chasing the college acceptance letter: Is it harder to get into college?
This report tells the real story about college acceptance: If students are well prepared in high school by earning the right credentials, they will get into a good college. And the right credentials include more than a high GPA. The report looks at data that shows taking college preparatory courses (math beyond Algebra II and science beyond biology) do more to increase a student’s chances of college acceptance more than a higher GPA. It also uses the data to come to the following conclusions:
- It is no more difficult for most students to get into college today than it was a decade ago. The shrinking acceptance rates cited in so many news reports likely come from a higher number of applications per student. However, the average applicant today has about the same chance of getting into a competitive college as an average applicant a decade ago.
- Taking more rigorous courses, especially in math and science, gives an applicant a better chance of getting into a competitive college than does raising his or her GPA. For instance, lower-achieving students could increase their chances by over 10 percent if they simply took trigonometry instead of stopping math at algebra II. Higher college admissions scores also increase a student’s chances.
- Well-prepared minority applicants have just as good of a chance of getting into a competitive college as well-prepared white students. However, a much smaller percentage of minority applicants earn the necessary credentials.
- Well-prepared low-income applicants are less likely to get into a competitive college as well-prepared high-income applicants: 67 percent vs. 80 percent. Moreover, few low-income applicants earn the necessary credentials.
NJ: Small Academies Help Students Make the Grade
Southern New Jersey Bridgeton High School's reinvented itself using the Talent Development High School model. The three career academies and ninth grade academy have had positive effects on student achievement, attendance, and parental involvement.
Gives a real world example for the models discussed in Keeping Kids in School.
CA: Helping All Students Graduate
The San Jose Unified School District raised its’ graduation requirements for all students, making a college-preparatory curriculum the standard for graduation. The results have been higher graduation rates, lower drop-out rates, and increased student achievement.
Provides a real world example for how a rigorous curriculum for all can work.
FL: Creativity and Hard Work---A Formula for Success
A Miami magnet school that graduates all of its’ students and has most of them attend college. The school employs a small school environment, high expectations, consistent grade monitoring, and community and parent involvement.
Provides a real world example for what the 21st Century, Keeping Kids in School, and Is it Harder to Get into College reports say schools should do.
NC: Middle Colleges Make a Difference for Struggling High School Students
Guilford County School’s six middle colleges provide offers disengaged and disconnected high school students an alternative to the traditional curriculum and environment. The county has cut its’ drop-out rate in half as a result of the positive role models and higher standards placed on these students.
Provides a real world example of how a non-traditional path, like the ones mentioned in the Better Late than Never report, can be successful in getting students to graduate and move on to college.
WI: Embracing a Spirit of Innovation at Walden III
A small magnet school with a non-mainstream population incorporates high expectations, personal guidance, and parent involvement to help students become responsible for their learning. Compared to other schools in the district, the truancy rate is the lowest, and the graduation rate is the highest. Walden students also scored above both the district and state averages on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations.
Provides a real world example for the skills (personal responsibility, creativity, and innovation) that the 21st Century Skills report says students will need when they leave high school.
Preparing Students for the 21st Century PowerPoint
This PowerPoint presentation based on the Defining a 21st Century Education report answers many of the questions about the key goals and characteristics of a successful high school, including what skills do high school graduates need and how does a school prepare students for changes in our world. This presentation also gives examples of the type of curriculum a high school should provide.
Are Your Students Developing 21st Century Skills? PowerPoint
This testing primer PowerPoint presentation explains what data school boards should be examining, how to get that data through assessments, and provides examples of real-world assessments.
Preparing Students for Graduation and Beyond PowerPoint
This comprehensive PowerPoint presentation starts with a four-tier approach to working with dropouts (prediction, prevention, intervention, and recovery). The presentation also includes information on the advantages of completing high school and some form of post-secondary training/education, the skills students need when they graduate, what is necessary for college acceptance, and what data you need to determine success. The final section specifically addresses what school boards can do.
Skill Demands Changing Across the Economy (1969 – 1998)
This graph helps explain what skills graduates need to be successful after graduation.
The Changing Nature of Work
Representations of the skill set workers believe they need to be successful in their jobs. Helps answer what skills graduates need.
Which Occupations Will See Great Growth Between 2006 and 2016
A list of the types of jobs schools should be preparing students to enter.
Changes in Family Income: A Growing Education Gap
Shows how family incomes fell drastically in households lead by only a high school graduate, further explaining why high school completion and post-secondary work is necessary.
Projected Occupational Growth and Prose Literacy of Current Workers
This chart graphs occupational growth and literacy level of workers in that occupation, showing the higher the expected occupational growth, the higher the literacy level.
Advanced Math Improves Earnings
Students who take higher level math courses during high school have higher earnings later on, other factors being equal. Some of the earnings advantage seems to come from what they learn in advanced math class regardless of whether they later attend college—a “cognitive” boost.
Better Literacy Associated with More Job Success and Stronger Civic Engagement
This graph shows the link between literacy and accomplishments after high school. It illustrates how high school completion betters the community.
Skills Most Employers Expect to Become More Important
Shows the percent of employees who believe a certain skill will increase in importance in the next five years. A good indicator of skills schools need to teach students ready for post-secondary work.
The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy
A diagram that shows what schools should be teaching high school students.
Defining Teamwork and Collaboration: OECD’s DeSeCo Project
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s description for the interpersonal competencies schools should teach students.
Areas of Greatest Disagreement Between Employers and Superintendents on High School Grad’s Creativity Skills
Superintendents are far more likely than employers to rate high school graduates as acceptable when it comes to their ability to solve problems, their comfort with challenges that have no single correct answer, their ability to identify new patterns, and their level of curiosity. A graph that can be used to demonstrate what school boards need to understand to help prepare students for post graduation.
Examples of Highly Predictive Risk Factors for Dropping Out from District Cohort Studies
This table contains a detailed listing of dropout risk factors from three cities. These three cities’ studies provide bullet points that can help identify drop outs.
Why Teenagers Drop Out
This table provides a quick list of the reasons students give for dropping out. An answer for who is not going to finish high school.
The Effect of Different Interventions on Keeping High-Risk Students in School and On-Track to Graduate
The U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse’s rating for three interventions. A research-based answer for how to keep kids in school.
Percent of Students Dropping Out by 12th Grade by Targeted Intervention
This bar graph clearly demonstrates how any type of intervention significantly increases a student’s chances of staying in school.
High School Graduation Status of the Class of 1992 Eight Years Later by Race
This table from the Better Late than Never report shows percentages by race to help answer who is not going to finish high school on time or not at all.
High School Graduation Status of the Class of 1992 Eight Years Later by Socioeconomic Status
This table from the Better Late than Never report shows percentages by socioeconomic status to help answer who is not going to finish high school on time or not at all.
Urbanicity of the High School's Community by High School Graduation Status
This table from the Better Late than Never report shows percentages by urbanicity to help answer who is not going to finish high school on time or not at all.
Average Undergraduate Credits Earned
This chart compares average undergraduate credits earned for on-time high school graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts to show the difference high school completion makes after graduation.
Took Remedial Courses in College
This chart compares remedial courses in college for on-time high school graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts to show the difference high school completion makes after graduation.
Employed for Pay in 2000
This chart compares who was a paid employee for on-time high school graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts to show the difference high school completion makes after graduation.
Highest and Lowest Annual 1999 Income Quintiles
This chart looks at the highest and lowest income for on-time high school graduates, late graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts. Demonstrates the impact a successful high school experience has on a student’s future.
Has Held a Job Where Employer Offered Retirement Plan
This chart looks at how likely on-time high school graduates, late graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts were to hold a job where the employer offered retirement pay. Demonstrates the impact a successful high school experience has on a student’s future.
Covered by Health Insurance in 2000
This chart looks at how likely on-time high school graduates, late graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts were to be covered by health insurance. Demonstrates the impact a successful high school experience has on a student’s future.
As of 2000 Voted in Any Election in the Previous Two Years
This chart looks at how likely on-time high school graduates, late graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts were to have voted in a recent election. Demonstrates the impact a successful high school experience has on a student’s future.
Cigarette Use as of 2000
This chart looks at how likely on-time high school graduates, late graduates, GED recipients, and dropouts were to be non-smokers. Demonstrates the impact a successful high school experience has on a student’s future.
Performance on 8th Grade Math Assessment
A chart that shows how eighth grade math performance is a good predictor of whether someone will graduate late.
Performance on 8th Grade Reading Assessment
A chart that shows how eighth grade reading performance is a good predictor of whether someone will graduate late.
Credentials of the Average Applicant
A brief rundown of what courses and grades a student needs from their high school experience to get into college.
Chances of Acceptance by Highest Math Course Completed
A bar graphs that shows the more rigorous the math curriculum, the better the chances are of college acceptance.
Credentials of the High-Achieving Applicant
A description of the rigorous math and science curriculum needed for a greater chance at college acceptance.
Keeping Kids in School Video
A three-minute presentation that school boards could use to illustrate the data needed to predict drop out candidates, including paying attention to transition years, tracking grades in English and Math, monitoring attendance, and gauging involvement. Provides answers for what school boards should be looking at to help high school students succeed.
College and Career Readiness Video
A brief video that provides numerous reasons for a rigorous curriculum for all, including examples from an electrician’s test, data on how rigor is needed for both good jobs and good colleges, and other points from the Chasing the College Acceptance Letter report. Supplies answers to what should be taught in high school and data school boards should be examining to make sure students are career and college ready.
Calculating High School Graduation Rates Video
An explanatory video about the data behind graduation rates that dispels some myths about late graduates and also explains what data schools should be looking at to answer questions about graduation.
Is high school tough enough: At a glance
This research examines what makes a prepared high school graduate, and how we know if the current high school curriculum produces such graduates.
Is high school tough enough: Full report
How do we determine what makes a prepared high school graduate, and how do we know if the current high school curriculum produces them? The following facts should raise some concerns:
Almost two-fifths of high school graduates “are not adequately prepared” by their high school education for entry-level jobs or college-level courses, according to a survey of college instructors and employers (Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2005).
Many low-income schools lack access to a rigorous high school curriculum by any definition. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Data recently reported that 3,000 high schools serving nearly 500,000 students offer no classes in Algebra II, a key subject encompassed by the SAT and other indicators of college readiness (OCR, 2011).
If this is the case, what kind of high school curriculum would produce prepared graduates? The research has focused on four popular strategies: AP courses, higher math courses, dual enrollment programs, and early college high schools. Most studies are correlative, and most simply measure graduates’ success in college. But it’s been well established that graduates entering good jobs need the same skills as graduates entering college, so the findings can be instructive when considering career-readiness, too.
High school rigor and good advice: Setting up students to succeed (At a glance)
President Obama has set a national goal to produce 8 million more graduates by 2020 in order to make the United States the world leader in college attainment. One way to get there is to prevent the students who enter college from leaving before they earn a credential.
High school rigor and good advice: Setting up students to succeed (Full Report - PDF)
President Obama has set a national goal to produce 8 million more graduates by 2020 in order to make the United States the world leader in college attainment. One way to get there is to prevent the students who enter college from leaving before they earn a credential. If 90 percent of our current freshmen persisted to a credential, that alone would produce an additional 3.8 million graduates by 2020 -- enough to meet the labor market’s needs in this decade and nearly halfway toward meeting the President’s goal.
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Investing in high-quality pre-kindergarten education yields benefits for kids, school, and communities.
All in Favor
Why is it important to vote in local school board elections and questions you should ask about candidates.
The right questions to ask for a full picture of the quality of your schools.
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