Published Online: November 3, 2015
Published in Print: November 4, 2015, as High School

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High School

"The Building Assets-Reducing Risks Program: Replication and Expansion of an Effective Strategy To Turn Around Low-Achieving Schools"

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A program to improve students' transition to high school helped improve achievement and close the achievement gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic students, according to results of a new randomized trial.

The Building Assets-Reducing Risks Program, part of the federal Investing in Innovation, or i3, initiative, teaches incoming 9th graders to improve their social-emotional skills while training teachers to analyze student data and focus on supports to prevent students from failing courses during the transition year.

In a large suburban high school in California, 555 freshmen were randomly assigned to either take part in the program or not.

By the end of the first year, participating students had earned on average 5.6 credits in core courses, compared with 5.2 for students who did not participate. Participants also had significantly higher GPAs and scores on standardized math and reading exams, and lower course-failure rates.

In the second and third years of the study, the achievement gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic participants on state tests also closed.

Vol. 35, Issue 11, Page 5

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