High School Reform


Evaluation of the Early College Expansion Project

SERVE Center conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation of a five-year project implementing early college strategies in comprehensive high schools in Texas and Colorado.

The small Early College Model has been shown to be successful at improving student outcomes in high school and postsecondary education. Despite the strong evidence of success within small schools, there was an open question as to the extent to which the Early College Design Elements could be implemented in comprehensive high schools and whether these schools would see similar impacts as the small Early Colleges. The Evaluation of the Early College Expansion Project can be thought of as an attempt to test that possibility. 

Overall, this evaluation shows that the Early College can serve as a model for districts on which they can focus and direct their work. The evaluation also suggests that, while increasing access to college courses is important, this access is most effective when it is part of a broader effort to more comprehensively improve high schools, ensuring that all students are prepared for further education. For more information, view reports below.

Client: Jobs for the Future - Investing in Innovation
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: early college, dual enrollment, quasi-experimental design, program evaluation
Contact: Julie Edmunds or Karla Lewis
Reports: Three reports available:


 Efficacy of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn Early College High School Model

A partnership effort with the North Carolina New Schools Project, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Duke University, Abt Associates, and RTI International, this longitudinal experimental study is examining the impact of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn Early College High School Model. Participating schools used a lottery to select students; the study then followed students who were randomly selected to both attend and not attend the school. The study compares both sets of students on a broad range of outcomes including achievement, coursetaking, attendance, dropout, and student attitudes and behaviors. In addition, the study is collecting information on model implementation to identify any particular components of the model that are associated with better student outcomes.

Client: Institute of Educations Sciences (IES)
Funding Agency: US Department of Education
Topic: Early College High Schools, program evaluation
Contact: Julie Edmunds


Evaluation of the STEM Early College Expansion Project (SECEP)

This is a quasi-experimental evaluation of a five-year project funded by an Investing in Innovation grant. The project is seeking to integrate early college efforts with STEM instructional strategies. SECEP is being implemented in school districts in Michigan and Connecticut.

Client: Teachers College Columbia University
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: STEM, early college, dual enrollment, quasi-experimental design, program evaluation
Contact: Julie Edmunds or Nina Arshavsky


Evaluation of the Central Ohio College and Career Readiness Partnership

This is an evaluation of a five-year regional effort to increase the number of students in Central Ohio who are prepared for college and career. Funded by an Investing in Innovation grant, the Partnership is implementing early college approaches in comprehensive high schools. The evaluation uses a quasi-experimental design in which participating schools are matched to similar, non-participating schools.

Client: Columbus State Community College
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: early college, dual enrollment, quasi-experimental design, program evaluation
Contact: Julie Edmunds or Eric Grebing


Exploring Why Students Leave Early College High Schools

This project uses school enrollment data, survey data, and site visits to explore the number of students leaving Early College High Schools and to identify reasons they might leave. The project will look at Early College High Schools across the country with the goal of providing information that will help the schools serve their students more effectively.

Client: Jobs for the Future
Funding Agency: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Topics: professional development, Early College High Schools, program evaluation
Contact: Julie Edmunds


High School Mathematics and Science Pipeline Study

As co-investigators with the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, SERVE is looking at the impact of varying reform models on students’ enrollment and success in college preparatory mathematics and science courses. The study design includes a comparative interrupted time series analysis and a multilevel survival analysis of student coursetaking in different high school reform models. These analyses are supported by surveys and site visits designed to understand school-level policies and practices that support success in these courses.

Client: National Science Foundation
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Topics: mathematics, science, coursetaking, college prep, program evaluation
Contact: Nina Arshavsky


The Impact of Early College High Schools

This is a twelve-year longitudinal study studying the impact of early college high schools in North Carolina. The study uses a lottery-based experimental design to compare results for students who were randomly accepted to the early college with results for students who were randomly not accepted. Results have shown positive impacts on high school and postsecondary outcomes.

Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
Topics: early colleges, dual enrollment, experimental design, program evaluation
Contact: Julie Edmunds


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