Principals and teachers in the 25 highest-performing small high schools in New York City credit academic rigor and personalization with their schools’ rising graduation rates, according to theof the Big Apple’s small-schools initiative.
Researchers from MDRC tracked more than 12,000 students who did and did not win a lottery-based admission to one of the city’s more than 80 small schools from 2004 to 2007. They found that students who went to small high schools were 9.5 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school‑—73.6 percent versus 64.7 percent—and 7.2 percentage points more likely to receive a regents diploma than those who had applied but weren’t chosen.
In the highest-performing schools, 85 percent of staff members attributed rising graduation rates to high-quality teachers, more than 75 percent credited strong relationships between teachers and staff, and a quarter cited high academic rigor.
A version of this article appeared in the August 28, 2013 edition of Education Week as High Schools