This policy brief, published by the National High School Center, focuses on five key challenges that states, districts, and schools should address to support a successful transition into high school.
MDRC’s research on Career Academies, First Things First, Project GRAD, and Talent Development suggests that the twin pillars of high school reform are structural changes to improve personalization and instructional improvement.
Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Students’ Performance and Attendance
During the first three years of implementation in six urban schools, The Talent Development Middle School model—an ongoing, whole-school reform initiative—had a positive impact on math achievement for eighth-graders but appeared to produce no systematic improvement in outcomes for seventh-graders.
Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Ninth-Grade Students’ Engagement and Performance
An examination of the implementation and early impacts of Talent Development, a whole-school reform initiative, found that the model produced substantial gains in ninth-grade students’ course completion and promotion rates.
Career Academies produced substantial and sustained improvements in earnings of young men after high school, without limiting opportunities to attend college.