Impact of New Designs for the Comprehensive High School: Evidence From Two Early Adapters

Publication January 2000

This project was part of a larger effort of the NCRVE to focus on high schools that were undergoing schoolwide reform and making use of their learning achievement results to further improve their schools. Accordingly, the study questions and procedures were designed to engage the stakeholders and staff of the schools in deciding what questions were important to them and what data would be required to answer these questions.

The first section of the report describes the context and planning efforts employed in developing each of the two selected schools. The second major part focuses on a description of both schools using the design framework of NDCHS to give the reader a sense of the degree of adaptation of its recommendations. The last section addresses impact on learning and implications for practice, policy, and further research for those interested in or already guiding whole school reform.

Special thanks are extended to Dr. Dan Bodette at the SES and Dr. Larry Hutchins at the SLCA for their work in providing data, making meeting arrangements for this report, and reviewing the final draft. Also appreciation is due to the students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community representatives and partners who provided assistance in developing the guiding questions, special features, and future directions for the two schools. NDCHS has greatly benefited from the support of the NCRVE headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley since the project’s start and from the Department of Work, Community, and Family Education at the University of Minnesota where the project was located for its first eight years. The Office of Vocational and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education has been very gracious in its financial support and professional encouragement and recognition of its work.

NDCHS is now part of a larger project entitled New Designs for Learning (NDL) which is located at the School of Education at Oregon State University. The project continues to work nationally and internationally with schools that have interest in “stepping out” in terms of innovation toward making the students’ learning experiences more rewarding in process and results.

Copa, G. H. (2000, January). Impact of new designs for the comprehensive high school: Evidence from two early adapters. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

Download the report (PDF)