Other Research on HSTW


What Others Are Saying About HSTW

HSTW has received much national acclaim for its effectiveness in guiding schools to raise student achievement and is particularly noted for its program design, its emphasis on using data for continuous improvement, its national staff development opportunities and its technical assistance to the HSTW network. Numerous organizations have recognized the effectiveness of the HSTW model: 

Educational Testing Service finds HSTW Assessment results to be strongly correlated to state assessments and college admissions tests. 

In 2009, Educational Testing Service conducted a concurrent validity study of the HSTW Assessment, comparing assessment scores for more than 2,500 students in six states and 52 high schools with students’ high school grade point averages, state test results and college admissions tests results. Results of this study show that the HSTW Assessment subject tests are strongly correlated to most state tests and also are correlated with admissions tests such as the SAT and ACT. These results indicate that the HSTW Assessment provides valid and useful student achievement data, along with student and teacher survey information about school and classroom practices. 

View the full report. (Young, John W., and Fred Cline. Center for Validity Research, Educational Testing Service, 2009.)

The Association for Career and Technical Education describes HSTW as a high school reform model showing promising results. 

In a 2006 position paper on reinventing the American high school, ACTE acknowledged HSTW’s effort to include rigorous academics in career-themed education. 

(The Association for Career and Technical Education. Reinventing the American High School for the 21st Century. A position paper, 2006.)

Policy research center describes HSTW as a model to advance reform efforts. 

In a case study of five school reform models conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education of the University of Pennsylvania, researchers concluded that that HSTW clearly effected changes in school structure and organization and that HSTW offers a participatory structure and a wealth of professional expertise that can significantly advance reform efforts. HSTW is “ultimately about empowering teachers to take full responsibility for the success of all students and giving them access to the resources they need to do so.”

(Anderson, J., and M.E, Goertz, M. Goldwasser, et al. High Schools That Work—A Case Study of Implementation in Three Schools. Consortium for Policy Research in Education, 2006.)

HSTW provides quality professional development and a solid foundation to help schools improve. 

In October 2006, the Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ) Center of the American Institutes of Research (AIR) concluded that HSTW was built on a solid foundation that linked the model’s design to a research base for all of the model’s core components. The report found moderately strong evidence of services and support that enable schools to successfully implement the model.

The report also recognized HSTW for its formal processes for establishing an initial understanding of the model at its sites, using informal strategies to develop faculty buy-in and using benchmarks for implementation. The CSRQ Center said that HSTW had very strong evidence of professional development and technical assistance for successful implementation.

(Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center of the American Institutes of Research. CSRQ Center Report on Middle and High School Comprehensive Reform Models. 2006.)

Educational Testing Service validity study of the HSTW Assessment provides strong empirical support for the importance of several HSTW indices of curriculum and instructional practices as related to student achievement. 

This study determined that the single most important predictor of students’ scores on the HSTW Assessment is the degree of completion of the HSTW-recommended academic curricula. In addition, several other indices were significant incremental predictors of student achievement, including: emphasis on challenging and engaging science curriculum; providing quality work-based learning experiences; and emphasis on high expectations. The results of the study underscore that these strategies can and do result in higher student achievement in reading, mathematics and science on the HSTW Assessment.

(Weiner, S. Special analysis and report on the predictability of HSTW Assessment indices. Educational Testing Service. 2007.)

The American Youth Policy Forum and Pathways to College Network recognizes HSTW as a school improvement model designed to encourage students to complete a rigorous curriculum and high expectations. 

This report focusing on improving college preparation, access and success for underserved populations stated that the “goals and restructuring components of HSTW are well aligned to increase college access and address the college-going predictors regarding academic rigor and access to social networks and information.” Authors pointed out that HSTW serves students who previously were tracked in vocational and general education programs and for this reason, “its success is magnified for students of color and those from low-income families who are disproportionately enrolled in lower, non-college preparatory tracks.”

(Martinez, M. and Klopott, K. “The Link between High School Reform and College Access and Success for Low-Income and Minority Youth.” America Youth Policy Forum and Pathways to College Network, 2005.)

The K-12 Committee of the National Association of Scholars acknowledges HSTW as one of five important school reform models in the United States. 

An open letter to the governors of all 50 states stressed that reforms need to be directed in ways that benefit all students in high school today, not just those students for whom schools must now be accountable. HSTW was the only model for reforming the American high school.

(K-12 Committee of the National Association of Scholars. “Open Letter to the Governors of the 50 States.” Presented at the 2005 National Summit on High Schools in Washington, D.C.)

Publication March 20089 pages

Are Scores on the HSTW Assessment Related to Students’ Self-Reported Educational Experiences?

High Schools That Work is a school improvement initiative that was inaugurated by the Southern Regional Education Board in 1987. At present, more than 1,200 HSTW sites in 32 states are using the framework of HSTW Goals and Key Practices to raise student achievement. To assess progress in school improvement and student achievement, one key component of HSTW is the HSTW Assessment, consisting of three subject tests (mathematics, reading, and science) and the HSTW Student Survey. Certain responses to selected questions in the Student Survey are used to construct indices measuring the degree of implementation of the HSTW Key Practices. In 2007, ETS undertook a study to determine if the indices of Key Practices are predictive of students’ performance on the HSTW Assessment subject tests.

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Publication February 200057 pages

High Schools That Work and Whole School Reform
Raising the Academic Achievement of Vocational Completers Through the Reform of School Practice

Executive Summary

School-wide efforts to improve the education of American students have been implemented in many schools throughout the nation. The Southern Regional Education Board’s High Schools That Work (HSTW) network stands out as one of the few consortia to coordinate that effort and to collect and analyze data as part of a service to its participants.

Publication April 200154 pages

High Schools That Work: Findings from the 1996 and 1998 Assessments

This report shows that in a two-year period between 1996 and 1998, High Schools That Worksites significantly increased the percentages of students in their senior classes who met theHSTW achievement goals in mathematics, science and reading and the percentages of students in their senior classes who completed the HSTW-recommended program of study. The report was prepared by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) of Research Triangle Park, N.C., for the U.S. Department of Education, Planning and Evaluation Service. It contains many tables and appendices based on the data.

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