A study released last week by the Education Trust defines qualities shared by what it calls “high impact” high schools: those that get better-than-expected results with students who are behind academically.
“Gaining Traction, Gaining Ground: How Some High Schools Accelerate Learning for Struggling Students” and “The Power to Change: High Schools That Help All Students Achieve” are available from The Education Trust.
The Washington-based research and advocacy group examined four such high schools and compared them with three demographically similar schools in order to define practices that distinguish the high-impact schools. Such schools, the report says, focus on preparing students for college and careers, not just for graduation. They embrace external standards and assessments, rather than just tolerate them. They set high expectations for students regardless of their prior performance, identify those who need help early, and make sure they get it.
Those schools adjust class sizes to help struggling students get more attention, and assign teachers to classes based not just on teachers’ seniority or preference, but their students’ performance and needs, the report says. High-impact schools, it says, also exert more control over who gets hired than do average-impact schools.
“Gaining Traction, Gaining Ground: How Some High Schools Accelerate Learning for Struggling Students” was released with a companion Education Trust study, “The Power to Change: High Schools That Help All Students Achieve,” that provides narratives about three high schools that are succeeding with largely low-income or minority students.