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ERIC Number: ED562689
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Closing the Performance Gap: The Impact of the Early College High School Model on Underprepared Students
Bernstein, Larry; Edmunds, Julie; Fesler, Lily
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Students entering high school in 9th grade face a formidable challenge. The transition to high school from 8th grade brings with it increased risks for all students. For example, students in 9th grade are anywhere from three to five times more likely to fail a class than students in any other grade. Similarly, ninth grade retention rates are higher than in any other grade. More importantly, research indicates that 70 to 80 percent of students failing in 9th grade will eventually dropout of high school. Early College High Schools (ECHS) are a new model merging high school and college designed to increase the number of students who graduate from high school and enroll and succeed in college. This paper presents results from a longitudinal, experimental study of ECHS, tracking students from 9th grade through graduation from high school and enrollment in college. This paper will examine impacts of the ECHS model on "underprepared" students, defined as those students who did not pass the 8th grade state exams in either or both reading and math. "Prepared" students, on the other hand, are those passing both exams. In this paper, the authors report on the impact of the model on the performance gaps between underprepared and prepared students from 9th-11th grades. This paper addresses the following specific research questions: (1) Are underprepared students more likely to be from traditionally underrepresented groups such as first generation, minority and free/reduced price lunch students?; (2) What is the impact of the ECHS model on these students' academic performance?; and (3) How does that impact compare to the impact on students who are prepared? This study focuses on ECHSs as implemented in North Carolina. North Carolina has the largest concentration of ECHSs in the country, with over 70 across the state; all managed by the same entity, the North Carolina New Schools. The 19 schools that are a part of this study are geographically distributed throughout the state; they include schools in rural and urban areas, schools with predominantly white populations and schools with predominantly African American populations. Results from this experimental study show that it is possible for schools to have an impact on students entering high school at-risk for academic failure and dropout. These data suggest to us that the reduction or elimination of performance gaps in the early college is a product of a purposeful implementation of a high quality learning environment with high expectations, rigorous courses and instruction, positive relationships, extensive student support, and teachers taking responsibility for student learning. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 9; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Grade 8; Elementary Education; Grade 10; Grade 11
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina