What We Are Reading: Dual Credit and Exam-Based Classes, Technology, Dropout, Senior Year in High School

Looking for new high school-related resources? Here are some pieces that other organizations have recently released:*

Dual Credit and Exam-Based Courses in U.S. Public High Schools: 2010-11 (National Center for Education Statistics, February 19, 2013). This report provides nationally representative data on the prevalence and characteristics of dual credit and exam-based courses in public high schools. For this survey, dual credit is defined as a course or program where high school students can earn both high school and postsecondary credits for the same courses; exam-based courses are Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.

How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms (PEW Research Center, National Writing Project, College Board, February 28, 2013). A survey of 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers finds that digital technologies have helped them in teaching their middle school and high school students in many ways. At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers. In addition, they report that there are striking differences in the role of technology in wealthier school districts compared with poorer school districts and that there are clear generational differences among teachers when it comes to their comfort with technology and its use in their classrooms.

Policy Reforms and De-professionalization of Teaching (National Education Policy Center, February 28, 2013). This brief discusses how three recent popular educational reform policies move teaching towards or away from professionalization. These reforms are: (1) policies that evaluate teachers based on students’ annual standardized test score gains, and specifically, those based on value-added assessment; (2) fast-track teacher preparation and licensure; and (3) scripted, narrowed curricula. These particular policy reforms are considered because of their contemporary prominence and the fact that they directly influence the way teaching is perceived.

Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic (Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance, Alliance for Excellent Education, February 2013). This fourth annual update on America’s high school dropout crisis shows that for the first time the nation is on track to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. While progress is encouraging, a deeper look at the data reveals that gains in graduation rates and declines in dropout factory high schools occurred unevenly across states and subgroups of students.

From High School to the Future: The Challenge of Senior Year in Chicago Public Schools (University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, February 2013). The majority of CPS seniors have schedules dominated by makeup courses and electives and other non-core subject areas, and the students themselves describe senior year as not challenging and easier than previous years. This report finds there is much work to do to shift the focus of senior year in Chicago from finishing graduation requirements to preparing for college or employment.

*Resource descriptions provided by the sponsoring organization.

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