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When Equity Is Optional: Low-Graduation-Rate High Schools and the 67% Threshold

December 10, 2020

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives statessignificant flexibility in identifying low-performingschools for support, but there is an exception:States must identify for comprehensive support andimprovement (CSI) all high schools where fewer than67% of students graduate.1 This might seem like asimple, bright-line rule that would affect schoolssimilarly across the country. However, this All4Edanalysis reveals that is not the case. We examinethe first year of results from ESSA accountabilitysystems in 10 states (see "About Our Data" for moreinformation) and find dramatic differences in theproportion of high schools identified for CSI dueto low graduation rates. Differences in graduationrates among states account for most of the variation.

Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students' Learning

September 10, 2014

A new report finds that technology - when implemented properly -can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk.

Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

February 1, 2013

This fourth annual update on America's high school dropout crisis shows that for the first time the nation is on track to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020 -- if the pace of improvement from 2006 to 2010 is sustained over the next 10 years. The greatest gains have occurred for the students of color and low-income students most affected by the dropout crisis. Many schools, districts and states are making significant gains in boosting high school graduation rates and putting more students on a path to college and a successful career. This progress is often the result of having better data, an understanding of why and where students drop out, a heightened awareness of the consequences to individuals and the economy, a greater understanding of effective reforms and interventions, and real-world examples of progress and collaboration. These factors have contributed to a wider understanding that the dropout crisis is solvable.While progress is encouraging, a deeper look at the data reveals that gains in graduation rates and declines in dropout factory high schools occurred unevenly across states and subgroups of students (e.g. economically disadvantaged, African American, Hispanic, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency). As a result, large "graduation gaps" remain in many states among students of different races, ethnicities, family incomes, disabilities and limited English proficiencies. To repeat the growth in graduation rates in the next ten years experienced in the second half of the last decade, and to ensure progress for all students, the nation must turn its attention to closing the graduation gap by accelerating progress for student subgroups most affected by the dropout crisis.This report outlines the progress made and the challenges that remain. Part 1: The Data analyzes the latest graduation rates and "dropout factory" trends at the state and national levels. Part 2: Progress and Challenge provides an update on the nation's shared efforts to implement the Civic Marshall Plan to reach the goal of at least a 90 percent high school graduation rate for the Class of 2020 and all classes that follow. Part 3: Paths Forward offers recommendations on how to accelerate our work and achieve our goals, with all students prepared for college and career. The report also offers "snapshots" within schools, communities, and organizations from Orlando to Oakland that are making substantial gains in boosting high school graduation rates.

Strengthening High School Teaching and Learning in New Hampshire's Competency-Based System

January 1, 2013

For a century, most students have advanced from grade to grade based on the number of days they spend in class, but in New Hampshire, schools have moved away from "seat time" and toward "competency-based learning," which advances students when they have mastered course content. This report profiles how two high schools in New Hampshire made this shift and examines the changes that were necessary to make competency-based advancement an important part of New Hampshire's strategy for implementing the Common Core State Standards and ensuring that students graduate ready for college and a career.

A System Approach to Building a World-Class Teaching Profession: The Role of Induction

October 1, 2011

Reviews research on teacher retention and quality. Argues for "comprehensive induction," including high-quality mentoring, common planning time for interaction with other teachers, intense professional development, and ongoing support from school leaders.

Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment

September 15, 2011

Examines whether classroom-based formative writing assessment - designed to provide students with feedback and modified instruction as needed - improves student writing and how teachers can improve such assessment. Suggests best practices.

Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading

May 6, 2010

Analyzes studies showing that writing about reading material enhances reading comprehension, writing instruction strengthens reading skills, and increased writing leads to improved reading. Outlines recommended writing practices and how to implement them.

Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers

February 5, 2010

Outlines challenges for rural high schools such as funding inequities and advantages such as parental support. Recommends best practices and policies for improving standards, accountability, student options, teachers, community support, and resources.

Meaningful Measurement: The Role of Assessments in Improving High School Education in the Twenty-First Century

June 23, 2009

Compiles analyses and policy recommendations on developing common standards and assessments, supporting timely use of data to inform decisions and to improve teaching and learning, and investing in research to prepare students for the global economy.

Every Student Counts: The Role of Federal Policy in Improving Graduation Rate Accountability

March 18, 2009

Describes 2008 federal policy to improve high school graduation rates by enhancing data collection, calculation of graduation rates, and accountability as a way to support interventions in low-performing schools. Makes state policy recommendations.

The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools

June 15, 2008

Outlines the impact of high dropout rates on income, health, and economic and societal contribution, as translated into reduced benefits and larger costs for the government and community. Estimates the lifetime income lost in each state due to dropouts.

Improving the Distribution of Teachers in Low-Performing High Schools

April 9, 2008

Analyzes the factors behind the persistent inequitable distribution of effective teachers, and recommends measures to prepare, recruit, and retain more highly qualified teachers to improve academic outcomes in schools with mainly poor minority students.