Back in August, ETS released their summary of the year’s research findings on the High Schools That Work (HSTW) programs emergent around the country, “High Schools That Work: Program Description, Literature Review, and Research Findings,” (Young, et. al., 2011). The report is a description of the program itself, a literature review, and a review of validity research by ETS for the HSTW program.
Summary of the HSTW findings:
” HSTW is an effort-based school-improvement initiative…”, with a goal “to work with schools to create a culture of continuous improvement in which schools implement a series of strategies to provide students with a high-quality, engaging learning environment”. HSTW is rooted in the statistic that those that complete a common core curriculum score 151 points higher on the combined sections of the SAT, therefore HSTW provides a framework of practices that build:
- A challenging program study built around student interests (both academic and career/technical)
- Literacy across the curriculum which allows for unique and engaging course offerings.
- Student choice in work that asks them to represent their understanding, defend it, and explore alternative strategies.
- Project-based learning that allows for refinement until student is successful, “Failure is not an option.”
- Designed systems that provide for extra help and extra time for students that need it, including digital options.
- One-to-one adult mentorship around life goals, skill building, and habits of success.
- Transition programming for entering and exiting the high school.
- Continuous school improvement conditions.