A National Study on Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Youth with Disabilities (Technical Report 36)

The researchers of this study administered a survey to state directors of special education or other appropriate representatives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in an effort to collect data on the variation in state graduation requirements and diploma options for students with and without disabilities, the intended and unintended consequences of exit exams as a requirement for receiving a diploma, and such consequences of using single or multiple diploma options for students with disabilities.

Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools—A Report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York

The Alliance for Excellent Education conducted a meta-analysis on 11 research-based practices aimed at improving the writing skills of fourth to 12th graders. The practices are: (1) writing strategies, (2) summarization, (3) collaborative writing, (4) specific product goals, (5) word processing, (6) sentence combining, (7) prewriting, (8) inquiry activities, (9) process writing approach, (10) study of models, and (11) writing for content learning. The results of the meta-analyses indicate that the practices examined had a large to medium effect size on students’ writing skills.

Reading Between the Lines: What the ACT Reveals About College Readiness in Reading

This report from ACT, Inc., recommends that considerable experience with complex reading texts in high school is the key to the development of college-level reading skills, and is the clearest differentiator of students who are ready for the post-secondary world of college and/or work versus those who are not. The report also defines the types of materials that need to be included in all high school courses, and offers recommendations to educators and policymakers on how to help increase the number of high school graduates who are ready for college-level reading.

Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work

ACT’s report recommends that schools strengthen their core high school curriculum to better prepare students for post-secondary success. Even with a high school diploma, many students leave high school without the necessary skills that will assist them in college or the workforce and research demonstrates that students at all levels of achievement benefit from taking rigorous courses.

READ 180 in Seminole County, Florida

This study by Dr. Minda Aguhob of Scholastic Research & Validation examined the effects of READ 180 in high schools in Seminole County Public Schools. Researchers randomly assigned almost 300 9th and 10th grade students in 7 high schools to 12 READ 180 classrooms. Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading assessment results showed that after 6 months, 25% of READ 180 students showed an increase of at least one reading level. White students achieved greater gains than other racial subgroups; there were no significant differences by gender or socioeconomic status.

Improving Student Literacy in the Phoenix Union High School District 2003-04 and 2004-05: Final Report

This matched quasi-experimental study compared 9th- and 10th-grade students in 2003–04 and 2004–05 who received READ 180 with students who did not receive the program. Overall, Read 180 students significantly outperformed their counterparts on reading tests. Further, subgroup analyses found that English language learner (ELL) READ 180 students performed better than an ELL comparison group on reading achievement.

Excellence in English in Middle and High School: How Teachers’ Professional Lives Support Student Achievement

The Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA) has been studying the characteristics of successful English programs in middle and high schools. This report discusses the findings of the first two years of their 5-year Excellence in English study and focuses on the educational practices that support student literacy as well as the characteristics of teachers' professional lives that accompany student achievement. The report addresses the issue of teachers' professional environments.

Career Academies: Impacts on Students’ Initial Transitions to Post-Secondary Education and Employment

This randomized controlled trial study by MDRC examined the impact of Career Academies. Although Career Academies had some significant positive impact on high school outcomes, such as school engagement and participation in career awareness and work-related activities, they did not significantly make a difference on course content and classroom instructional practices, likelihood of graduating high school, college enrollment, and employment.

Five Years of READ 180 in Des Moines: Improving Literacy Among Middle School and High School Special Education Students

Over the first five years of implementation, more than 1,200 special education students have participated in Scholastic READ 180 in the Des Moines Independent Community School District. During this period, district personnel have produced annual reports on student outcomes and they have collected evidence that indicates that the program has been implemented reasonably well across the district. This report builds on the school district’s reports and provides additional analyses that take advantage of the full complement of five-year longitudinal data.


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