ISA’s Impact

Reinventing America's High Schools

Affecting student achievement

The ISA model has been validated by the findings of objective external evaluators. From 2004 to 2010, the Academy for Educational Development (AED) conducted a rigorous six-year longitudinal study to determine ISA’s impact on students. AED followed two cohorts of ninth-graders in ISA schools and compared their progress to a carefully matched group of students who had not been educated in ISA high schools.

AED’s final report found that the ISA model had a positive effect on student achievement outcomes, including increased grade promotion, greater credit accumulation, lower drop-out rates, and higher graduation rates – even for students who started ninth grade well below grade level.

To view the executive summary of the AED report, click here.

Analyzing District Reform

Beginning in 2002, 123 Small Schools of Choice (SSCs) were created in New York City as part of an innovative district reform effort. MDRC, a non-profit, non-partisan social policy research organization, evaluated these SSCs, which included 12 ISA schools. The 6-year study completed by MDRC found that the ISA model of creating new small schools/small learning communities, significantly improves graduation prospects for the student population.

Learn more about the advantages of the ISA model by viewing the full report here.

Saving Money

According to an MDRC study, “The Relative Costs of New York City’s New Small Public High Schools of Choice,” released in October of 2014, “the cost per high school graduate is substantially lower for the small-school enrollees than for their control group counterparts. This seemingly counterintuitive result occurs because control group counterparts (1) attend high schools with annual per-pupil costs that are about the same as those for the new small schools, (2) are more likely to attend a fifth year of high school because they do not graduate in four years, and (3) are less likely to graduate from high school at all.” Read the full report here.