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Education Week Commentary
Center for Organization of Schools > The Graduation Gap > Education Week Commentary

"The Graduation Rate Crisis We Know and What Can Be Done About It-Education Week Commentary" (PDF) By Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters.

Studies and Findings Referenced/Used in the Commentary

The Characteristics of the Graduation Rate Crisis/Challenge

“Locating the Dropout Crisis” (PDF) A recent paper by Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters which uses promoting power to identify the number, location, and characteristics of the nation’s Dropout Factories-the high schools that produce the majority of the nation’s dropouts. A refined version of this paper appears in Dropouts in America (2004) cited below.

“An Extreme Degree of Difficulty: The Educational Demographics of Urban Neighborhood High Schools” (PDF) A recent journal article by Ruth Curran Neild and Robert Balfanz which details the level of educational challenge faced by urban, non-selective neighborhood high schools.

“Whatever Happened to the Class of 2000? The Timing of Dropout in Philadelphia’s Schools” by Ruth Curran Neild and Elizabeth Farley (2004) in Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis ed. Gary Orfield, Harvard Education Press: Cambridge MA.

“Graduation and Dropout Trends in Chicag A look at cohorts of students from 1991 to 2004” by Elaine Allensworth (2005) Chicago Consortium of School Research

Falling Off the Graduation Track Indicators/Dropout Prevention

“Keeping Middle Grade Students on the Graduation Track” - initial findings in PowerPoint format of a study by Robert Balfanz and Liza Herzog which seeks to establish how early in the middle grades large numbers of a school district's future dropouts begin to fall off the graduation track. The full report will be published in August.

“The On-Track Indicator as a Predictor of High School Graduation” by Elaine Allensworth & John Eaton (2005) Chicago Consortium of School Research

Transforming Secondary Schools to Improve the Nation’s Graduation Rate

“Essential Components of High School Dropout Prevention Reforms” (PDF) An article by Jim McPartland and Will Jordan which presents a typology of the reforms needed to transform high schools with low graduation rates. A refined version of this article can be found in Dropouts in America (2004) cited above.

"Solutions for Failing High Schools: Converging Visions and Promising Models" White paper by Nettie Legters, Robert Balfanz, Jim McPartland commissioned by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, 2002.

“What Does It Cost to Operate a High School Organized into Small Learning Communities? What are Additional Resources Needed? How can Efficiencies be Achieved?” (PDF) An article by Robert Balfanz which examines the staffing ratios needed to sustain state of art high school reforms and the extent to which high schools currently have the staffing resources they need to implement these reforms.

"Re-conceptualizing Extra Help for High School Students in a High Standards Era" A white paper by Robert Balfanz, James McPartland and Alta Shaw commissioned by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education 2002, examines the types of extra help high school students need to succeed in challenging high school courses, and what was is known about effective approaches.

Catching Up: Effect of the Talent Development Ninth-Grade Instructional Interventions in Reading and Mathematics in High-Poverty High Schools. Article by Robert Balfanz, Nettie Legters, and Will Jordan in NASSP Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 641, December 2004.

“Closing the Mathematics Achievement Gap in High Poverty Middle Schools: Enablers and Constraints” (PDF) An article by Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes, which examines the roles played by attendance, behavior, and effort in students making large achievement gains in the middle grades, makes the case for the importance of comprehensive secondary school reforms.

Learnings and Findings from the Talent Development Comprehensive Whole School Reform Model

MDRC Final Report: “Making Progress Toward Graduation - Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model” James J. Kemple, Corinne M. Herlihy, and Thomas J. Smith. MDRC Interim Report: “The Talent Development High School Model - Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Ninth-Grade Students’ Engagement and Performance” James J. Kemple, Corinne M. Herlihy.

“Scaling Up Talent Development High Schools: Lessons Learned from Comprehensive High School Reform” (PDF) by Nettie Legters, Jim McPartland, and Robert Balfanz. A chapter describing the factors that affect the success of high school reform efforts in Expanding the Reach of Education Reforms (RAND, 2004).

"Comprehensive Reform for Urban High Schools: A Talent Development Approach," book by Nettie Legters, Robert Balfanz, Will Jordan, and Jim McPartland that presents the research base for high school reform strategies and findings from the pilot and initial scale-up of the Talent Development High Schools model (2002, Teachers College Press).

“The Talent Development Middle School Model Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Students’ Performance and Attendance” Corinne M. Herlihy and James J. Kemple, 2004.

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