Post-Secondary Outcomes of Innovative High School: The Big Picture Longitudinal Study

Post-Secondary Outcomes of Innovative High School: The Big Picture Longitudinal Study
May 14, 2016 Stuart Foundation

The small school movement is a leading school reform effort intended to reduce educational inequality. The Big Picture Longitudinal Study uses mixed methods to track graduates of a national network of innovative high schools to study whether and how a personalized, interest-based secondary school design is associated with improved post-secondary outcomes for low-income students. Findings show that the Big Picture Learning model is highly effective at fostering positive relationships, helping students discover and pursue their interests, and raising high school graduation and college entrance rates. Results are mixed in the areas of science and mathematics college readiness and in six-year college persistence rates. The study points to the trade-offs characteristic of small schools; the difficulty of sustaining secondary school gains in the post-high school ecology of low-income students; and the shortcomings of traditional colleges in serving this population.

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