A new practice guide from the U.S. Department of Education’s key research office lays out some simple, research-based recommendations for high school educators looking to pry open the doors of higher education for their students.
It suggests offering more courses that provide students with college-level work; assessing students early on so they have some idea of whether they are prepared for college; recruiting adults and older peers to support students’ postsecondary ambitions; prodding students to take the necessary steps to search for and apply to colleges; and finding ways to engage families in seeking financial-assistance opportunities for their children.
In developing the recommendations, a panel of outside experts in higher education sifted through more than 500 studies on the topic. Because so few studies met the Institute of Education Sciences’ evidence standards, the reviewers rated the level of evidence for each of their recommendations as either “low” or “moderate.” The guides also offer checklists and descriptions of steps school can take to put the recommendations into practice.
Evidence ratings for specific programs, such as Gear Up or Upward Bound, are also included in an appendix to the guide.
Posted online last week, the publication is the 11th in a series of practice guides published by the institute. Falling somewhere between a consensus panel report and a systematic research review, the reports are intended to offer educators information on some best bets for effective practices.
A version of this article appeared in the September 23, 2009 edition of Education Week