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ERIC Number: ED500782
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 64
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 93
Levers for Change: Southeast Region State Initiatives to Improve High Schools. Issues & Answers. REL 2007-No. 024
Edmunds, Julie A.; McColskey, Wendy
Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast
This descriptive report examines the strategies of the six Southeast Region states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina) to improve high school graduation rates and student achievement and to increase the number of students leaving high school with the skills and knowledge necessary for the twenty-first century. These state-level strategies are organized into six themes or "levers for change": (1) Standards and assessments (Alignment of standards and assessments with expectations for post-secondary education and with twenty-first century skills); (2) Course requirement (Revised graduation requirements to include courses required for college and mandatory course sequences that make a stronger connection to work readiness); (3) Student support and access to courses (Increased student access to both the courses and the support they need through strategies such as virtual schools, support for Advanced Placement courses, and mandated remediation); (4) Model schools and practices (Creating new model high schools, redesigning existing schools, implementing specific practices such as career academies); (5) Local capacity-building (Building the capacity of local schools and districts to support reform by providing direct professional development or providing coaches or technical assistance teams at schools); and (6) Partnerships and public involvement (Establishing partnerships to support high school reform). State leaders are using their visibility to increase attention to high schools. Deciding which strategies within each lever have the highest potential for accomplishing the desired results is a challenge. Engaging states in a systematic examination of strategies can help states make sound decisions about what policies and interventions can best improve student learning in their state. The report provides information to help states engage in such a systematic process. The list of strategies described under each lever can give policymakers ideas about approaches to consider. But the authors do not mean to endorse every strategy or approach currently being used by states. Instead, policymakers should examine the research literature to discover what studies have found about a strategy's implementation issues and its effectiveness in improving student outcomes. Based on the research, policymakers will want to consider the appropriateness of using a specific strategy to improve student outcomes. This report introduces examples of the key research for each lever. After choosing a strategy, policymakers should monitor implementation of the strategy and evaluate its outcomes. The report concludes with three examples of ways states are currently evaluating strategies in three different levers. Appendixes include: Research methodology; State profiles providing more detailed description of how each of the six states in the Southeast Region use the six levers for change; and Protocols for collecting state-level information. (Contains 19 tables, 5 boxes, and 1 figure.) [This report was prepared for the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) by Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast administered by SERVE Center, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.]
Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at SERVE Center. University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 915 Northridge Street, Greensboro, NC 27403. Tel: 800-755-3277; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; Florida; Georgia; Mississippi; North Carolina; South Carolina
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
IES Funded: Yes