The MDRC has published a new policy brief, by Howard S. Bloom and Rebecca Unterman, further examining a report released in 2010 on the effectiveness of Small Schools of Choice (SSCs). “That report demonstrated that SSCs are markedly improving academic progress and graduation prospects, particularly for disadvantaged students. This policy brief extends the analysis by a year, adding information on high school graduation rates for the 2006 cohort and providing a fifth year of follow-up for the 2005 cohort.” The study upon which it is based are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
We at CSPS believe this research to contain some of most significant, historic findings on high school in the last 100 years.
- Sustained impacts on graduation with Regents diplomas: With the addition of a second cohort, average four-year graduation effects have reached 8.6 percentage points (67.9 percent for “target SSC enrollees” vs. 59.3 percent for their control group counterparts).
- Positive graduation effects for virtually every subgroup, including students with low entering proficiency in math and English, males and females, blacks and Hispanics, and students eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch.
- A positive effect on a measure of college readiness: A 7.6 percentage point impact on scoring 75 or higher on the English Regents exam (a marker that the City University of New York uses to exempt students from remedial English).
- Five-year graduation effect: Students in SSCs are 7.1 percentage points more likely to graduate in five years than their control group counterparts (75.2 percent vs. 68.1 percent).