High Standards and High Graduation Rates: Moving Forward on a Dual Agenda in Massachusetts

Publication Date: April 2007

Publisher: Jobs for the Future, Inc.


Research Area: Education

Keywords: graduation rates; high school reform; secondary standards

Type: Report

Coverage: Massachusetts


To create an education pipeline capable of moving all students through to an advanced level of skills and credentials and connecting young adults to the well-paying jobs being created in Massachusetts, two challenges deserve the special and immediate attention of state leaders: substantially increasing the percentage of the state's low-income, African-American, and Hispanic young people who graduate from high school in four years; and substantially increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are fully prepared to succeed in work and postsecondary education.

These twin goals constitute an urgent dual agenda of high standards and high graduation rates for all students.

The report makes four recommendations, accompanied by specific action steps, about how the Commonwealth can build on current progress, and it calls on different stakeholder groups to act quickly to move the Commonwealth closer to achieving high college- and career-ready graduation rates: increase the number of students succeeding in MassCore and earning the certificate of mastery and certificate of occupational proficiency; identify students who are at risk of not graduating, and anchor high school accountability indicators to high school graduation and college-readiness rates; place a priority on and dedicate resources to state intervention in persistently low-performing schools; and open new schools designed to improve college-ready graduation rates for low-income, minority, and struggling students.

This report was part of Moving Forward: High Standards and High Graduation Rates, a joint project of Achieve, Inc., and Jobs for the Future and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. The project centers on a policy analysis of what the state is doing and can do to support a dual agenda of high standards and high graduation rates.