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Headed to College: The Effects of New York City's Small High Schools of Choice on Secondary Enrollment - Three previous studies showed New York City's Small Schools of Choice (SSCs) resulted in increased graduation rates. This brief finds attending SSCs substantially increased students' enrollment and persistence in postsecondary education. In large part because fewer SSC students require a fifth year of high school, each graduate costs less than a counterpart from larger school. (Rebecca Unterman, MDRC, October 2014)...

Inside Success: Strategies of 25 Effective Small Schools in NYC - More than a decade ago, when the New York City high school graduation rate was hovering at 50 percent, a series of reforms were launched, closing some large, comprehensive high schools and opening hundreds of "small schools of choice" (SSCs). This report looked at 25 of the most effective to learn the roots of their success. Personalized learning, high expectations and flexible teachers were cited. (Adriana Villavicencio and William H. Marinell, Research Alliance for New York City Schools, July 2014)...

New York City's Small Schools of Choice - The Promising Practices Network calls New York City's 123 Small Schools of Choice (SSC) "promising" because their students are 10% more likely to graduate from high school on time. Originally created to replace underperforming public schools, the SSCs have about 100 students in each grade 9-12. Students are admitted on the basis of choice and seat availability. (Promising Practices Network, April 2013)...

School Size and Student Outcomes in Kentucky’s Public Schools - In November 2005, the Kentucky legislature's Program Review and Investigations Committee directed that staff address the question of how school size affects student achievement in Kentucky. This report does that -- primarily through a statistical analysis of the effect Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) scores and attendance, dropout and retention rates. Previous research indicated that small- and medium-sized schools appear to be particularly beneficial to disadvantaged students. The results differed for this statistical analysis. In examining students’ scores on the CATS assessments, staff found that generally the scores of students enrolled at larger schools were typically as high or higher than the scores of students enrolled at smaller schools. (Greg Hager, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, June 2006) ...

Small High Schools on a Larger Scale: The First Three Years of the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative - The Chicago High School Redesign Initiative is a partnership between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Gates Foundation and local Chicago foundations. More than $26 million has been dedicated toward the goal of opening approximately two dozen small high schools across the city. This report details an analysis of how these small schools compare to the rest of Chicago public schools, taking into account individual- and school level characteristics. The report presents findings on student experiences, teacher experiences and student outcomes, and details mixed results for each of these indicators. The authors argue that their findings give provide reasons for cautios optimism, citing more personal and supportive environment for teachers and students as well as a lower dropout rate than similar students in the CPS. Discussion and implications are discussed starting on page 33. (Joseph E. Kahne, Susan E. Sporte and Marisa de la Torre, Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago, June 2006) ...

School Size and Its Relationship to Student Outcomes and School Climate - This paper discusses the research on school size and its effects on student achievement, specifically focusing on eight studies conducted in South Carolina. The paper concludes that the answer to the question of whether or not school size affects achievement is yet to be found, at least in South Carolina. The author argues that the issue is a complex one, with many factors – including differing levels of poverty within schools – possibly influencing student achievement more, and therefore complicating the research. (Kenneth R. Stevenson, National Clearinghouse for educational Facilities, April 2006) ...

Lessons on Assessing the Costs of Small High Schools: Evidence from Seattle and Denver - This four-page policy brief examines the layers of district costs in Seattle and Denver to identify the actual costs for small high schools. The findings? Small high schools don’t necessarily cost more per student, and big high schools don’t necessarily cost less per student to operate. The authors provide recommendations for district leaders concerned over the potential costs of small schools: (1) get the full cost picture; (2) consider the costs of alternative options; (3) isolate spending data on non-educational services and (4) recognize that relative costs are driven by budgeting practices. The document also briefly describes how Cincinnati’s weighted student formula and other budget reforms can help other districts create small schools. (Marguerite Roza, Claudine Swartz and Larry Miller, Center on Reinventing Public Education, January 2005)...

Sizing Things Up: What Parents, Teachers and Students Think about Large and Small High Schools - This study found that teachers in the nation's larger high schools are more likely to report problems with students dropping out or falling through the cracks than teachers in smaller high schools. Large schools also got low marks from their teachers in several areas – maintaining high academic standards, providing help for struggling students and dealing with overcrowding. (Public Agenda, February 2002)...


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