High School Reform in Boston Public Schools: The Effect of Focus on High Schools on Student Academic Outcomes.

Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Author(s): Susanne James-Burdumy; Irma Perez-Johnson; Sonya Vartivarian

Research Area: Education

Keywords: Student Academic; Special Education; Boston Public Schools; High School Reform

Type: Report

Coverage: Massachusetts


The Focus on High Schools initiative is intended to transform Boston's 12 comprehensive high schools into more effective institutions by breaking them down into smaller, more intimate learning communities and reforming their English and language arts programs. This report focuses on changes in students' academic outcomes after implementation of the initiative. The study found reductions in math and English scores. On the positive side, days absent and tardy were lower, along with student suspensions. There was also an overall increase in promotions to the next grade, concentrated among special education students.