Policy Briefs on academic success in high school

Posted by on December 15, 2008

Last week the Education Commission of the States (ECS) goes live with three new resources focused on policies to ensure academic success in high school. The policy briefs build on research suggesting the 9th-grade transition year, along with parental engagement and teacher preparation, are critical to academic success in and after high school.

A 9th-grade transitions policy brief (http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/78/91/7891.pdf) reviews research emphasizing the freshman year as a predictor for high school success. The policy brief identifies solid approaches to develop and support successful transition model policies, articulating how such policies look, whether they are aimed at funding summer “catch-up” programs, growing positive peer networks or
developing individual graduation plans.

Successful high school transitions also are heavily dependent on parental support and guidance, yet research suggests many parents are unsure of how best to support their child during the high school years. A second policy brief (http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/78/48/7848.pdf) highlights research indicating the types of parental involvement that positively impact high school students. Designed for state policymakers, this resource also identifies a set of policies and practices that reflect and reinforce a commitment to increase parental involvement.

“Having worked at the building, district and state level, I know that parents are key to students’ success, no matter what grade those students are in,” ECS President Roger Sampson notes. “Yet too many parents don’t know how to be involved once their child leaves the elementary grades. This policy brief provides real answers to help state and district level leaders get parents of high school students involved in meaningful ways.”

Research indicates that along with parents, teachers also are instrumental in the success of high school students. A third policy brief (http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/78/64/7864.pdf) examines seven high-leverage components to strengthen teacher professional development at the high school level and provides state policy suggestions for each.
“As the research shows, 9th grade is a ‘make-or-break’ year for high school success. States need to make sure they’re providing the supports these students need to set them on the path to high school graduation,” explains Sampson.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. ECS helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify, develop and implement public policies to improve student learning at all levels. A nonprofit organization, ECS
(http://www.ecs.org) was formed in 1965 and is located in Denver, Colorado.

For questions or more information about these or other high school policy issues, please contact ECS Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Dounay at [email protected].

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