School & District Management Report Roundup

N.Y.C. Study: Big Gains Found in Small Schools

By Debra Viadero — July 13, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

At a time when reformers and philanthropists have largely turned their back on the “small schools” movement, a study of New York City high schools has found that students are more academically successful in smaller, more personal high schools that they choose for themselves than they are in larger, more traditional schools.

The report released last month by MDRC, a New York-based research group, focuses on the 1.1-million-student school system’s effort to shut down 20 large, failing high schools and replace them with smaller schools where students might be more likely to receive the attention they need.

It zeroes in on 123 small schools that opened in New York City after 2002. Dubbed “small schools of choice” by the researchers, those nonselective public schools all enrolled 550 or fewer students in grades 9-12 and drew mainly from disadvantaged student populations.

The researchers compared students who were assigned by lottery to one of those schools with those placed elsewhere or in regular city high schools.

By the end of 9th grade, the researchers found, 58.5 percent of students in the small schools had passed enough courses to be on track to graduate, compared with 48.5 percent of the students in the control group. The actual graduation rate for small-schools enrollees was 68.7 percent, compared with 61.9 percent for the control-group students. A larger proportion of the small-schools graduates also earned the state’s regents diploma, which requires students to earn a higher passing score on state exams.

The study was financed by the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was an enthusiastic early supporter of New York City’s small-schools initiative and others around the country.

A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 2010 edition of Education Week as N.Y.C. Study: Big Gains Found in Small Schools

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management As Districts Weigh 4-Day Weeks, Research Overlooks Their Most Pressing Questions
A new, searchable dashboard will help district leaders explore research on four-day school weeks.
4 min read
Illustration of people around a very large flip calendar with Mon-Thursday highlighted in red squares. The concept of task planning. People are engaged in planning a calendar schedule.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion 3 Skills to Help Leaders Navigate in Uncertain Times
Today’s charged political landscape threatens school districts’ efforts to create a safe environment where all students can learn.
Jennifer Perry Cheatham
5 min read
A leader at a podium coaches a diverse team of rowers with large pencil oars on a boat. Political leadership. Polarization.
Raul Arias for Education Week
School & District Management The Behind-the-Scenes Work of Implementing the ‘Science of Reading’
Principals are at the forefront of rolling out reading reforms. Their starring role, though, is often mistaken for a supporting one.
5 min read
Image of a spotlight on a child reading a book.
Taylor Callery for Education Week
School & District Management When Does a School Closure Become Discriminatory?
Advocates push for federal guidance on protecting students' civil rights in school closure decisions.
6 min read
Image of a neighborhood map with markers on a school building.
Canva