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Wednesday, 1st July 2009

Current, Flawed Indicators Driving Federal Policy Must be Replaced with New, Research-Based Indicators that Can Help Identify and Improve Problems in Low-Performing High Schools

Current, Flawed Indicators Driving Federal Policy Must be Replaced with New, Research-Based Indicators that Can Help Identify and Improve Problems in Low-Performing High Schools
Source: Alliance for Excellent Education

A new policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education argues that the nation must move away from solely relying on test scores and graduation rates to evaluate high schools if it is to successfully stem the high school dropout crisis and prepare all students for college and career. Instead, the brief, Moving Beyond AYP: High School Performance Indicators, calls for the use of more sophisticated indicators that can determine the factors that contribute to a school’s poor performance, guide the development of improvement strategies, and measure interim progress along the way.

“The ‘check engine’ light on your car tells you that you need to look under the hood, but it can’t tell you which specific part you need to replace,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Similarly, test scores and graduation rates can identify problem schools, but they can’t tell you why they’re low-performing. It’s time to move from simply looking underneath the hood to fixing the problem.”

The brief outlines a number of high school performance indicators that research has shown are predictive of high school graduation and college and career readiness. They include attendance, course success, on-track-to-graduation status, course-taking patterns, success on college- and career-ready assessments, postsecondary success rates, and school climate. It also describes the research behind these indicators, measurement options and challenges, and current use across the nation.

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