Comprehensive School Reform

Report

An Exploratory Analysis

January, 2006
Theresa M. Akey

This analysis of data collected in MDRC’s evaluation of the First Things First reform initiative confirms that high school students’ engagement in school and perceptions of their own academic competence influence their mathematics achievement. The study also suggests that perceived academic competence may be more influential than engagement in boosting achievement in both mathematics and reading.

Report

The Effect of Project GRAD on High School Student Outcomes in Three Urban School Districts

July, 2006
Jason Snipes, Glee Ivory Holton, Fred Doolittle, Laura Sztejnberg

This report describes the effects of Project GRAD, an ambitious education reform that targets high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them, on a variety of student outcomes in high schools in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio.

Report

Findings from the First Implementation Year

December, 2003

Based on survey data and findings from interviews and observations, this report describes the First Things First reform initiative and its first year of implementation at seven secondary schools, with a focus on three key components: small learning communities, a family advocacy system, and instructional improvement strategies.

Report

Lessons from Research on Three Reform Models

May, 2006

Recent MDRC evaluations of three high school reform models — Career Academies, First Things First, and Talent Development — offer hope that comprehensive programs can improve low-performing high schools. This research synthesis for policymakers and practitioners offers practical lessons for creating personalized learning environments, helping struggling freshmen, improving instruction, preparing students for the world beyond high school, and stimulating change in overstressed high schools.

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