Institute for Student Achievement


Student Achievement



Dr. Gerry HouseRecently, ISA commissioned IMPAQ International to conduct an evaluation of the impact of the ISA school model on African American male students' high school outcomes. The evaluation compared several measures: high school attendance, credit accumulation/grade promotion, dropout rate, and four-year graduation rates, across four cohorts of African American male students enrolled in ISA and comparison schools in New York City and two cohorts of students enrolled in ISA and comparison schools in Atlanta.

The results showed that African American male students in ISA schools consistently outperformed their non-ISA school peers on several high school outcome measures examined in the study. African American male students in ISA schools 1) had higher average daily attendance rates in grades 9-11, 2) were promoted to the next grade at significantly higher rates, 3) had lower dropout rates and 4) graduated at a higher rate than non-ISA school peers at the comparison schools.

Higher student outcomes in ISA high schools can be attributed to the impactful model that provides the foundation for ISA schools. Rigorous teaching and learning, structures that support personalization and a college-going culture, and a commitment to continuous organizational improvement are core to our work with schools. We are proud that this new study identified particular success with African American males.

In this edition of our monthly newsletter, we highlight how ISA's school model contributes to students' preparedness for college and career. We also unpack what "College for All" means as defined in the article, "What Makes a Student College Ready" and how ISA promotes these outcomes. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Warm Regards,
Gerry House, Ed.D.
President, ISA

How ISA Gets Results

ISA's research-based high school model directly addresses preparation for college in the first of its seven design principles, which is the implementation of an inquiry-based college preparatory instructional program that embeds literacy and numeracy across the curriculum. ISA leadership-school development and content area coaches collaborate with principals and teachers to help them provide students with a rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum and instructional program that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and focuses on the skills and knowledge students will need for success in college. In addition to this academic focus, teachers and principals help students develop the habits of mind and habits of work they will need for postsecondary achievement.

The ISA model includes support for the college preparation process, including counseling, campus visits, college application and admissions exam preparation, guidance on scholarships and financial aid, and parent information-- all of which encourage students to view themselves as future college students and provide them and their families with the information for college admission. Many ISA schools also partner with postsecondary institutions to offer students the opportunity to enroll in college courses while still in high school so they can experience college demands and earn college credit early.

For more information about ISA's principles and how they promote college readiness, click here to download our Seven Principles brochure.

The ISA Model Promotes "College for All"

David Conley, an expert on what students need to be prepared for college asserts that schools must create a college going culture in order to focus their students on making college their goal. He identifies four critical elements of college readiness: 1) key cognitive strategies, 2) key content knowledge, 3) self-management skills, and 4) knowledge about postsecondary education. High schools need to address all four areas.

The ISA model draws on Conley's research. ISA's content-area coaches work with classroom teachers to focus instruction on those key cognitive strategies (e.g., higher order thinking skills), key content knowledge (e.g., big ideas and critical skills in math, literature, science, and history), and self management skills (e.g., note taking, and persistence) so that students will be prepared for college.

Through Distributed Counseling, ISA schools give students the opportunity to develop both the self-management skills and college knowledge needed to enroll and succeed in college. All students have teacher advocate-advisors who meet regularly with their advisees and get to know them and their families well. In advisory classes with the guidance of their advisor, students review their transcripts, monitor their progress, learn study skills, problem solve adolescent issues, and work on college searches, admission and financial applications, and essays.

Independent external evaluations show that the ISA model pays off. After high school, 90% of ISA graduates continue to the third semester in college compared to 77% of students nationwide. After four years, 81% of ISA students have graduated or are still enrolled and working toward a degree.

For more results on the ISA model, visit the By the Numbers page on our website.



School Spotlight

Victory Collegiate High School

Read more about how Principal Marcel Deans and Victory Collegiate successfully support students through high school and on to college in our case study titled, "A Culture of Success: Victory Collegiate High Schools."

Dr. Lance Ozier Speaks at 2014 Beijing Academy Seminar
In December, Dr. Lance W. Ozier, senior literacy specialist for the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), spoke at the 2014 Beijing Academy Seminar, an annual event to bring experts in project-based and deeper learning initiatives to China to enhance the Chaoyang District's efforts in these areas. Part of the Chaoyang District, Beijing Academy is one of many new public schools in China implementing various curricula focused on 21st century learning skills and non-cognitive learning models.

This major shift in China's approach to education has been in part sparked by the release of Yong Zhao's book titled "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World." Zhao, born and educated in China, is an internationally known scholar, author, and speaker. In Diane Ravitch's New York Review of Books summary of Zhao's work, she says Zhao tells readers that, "China has the best education system because it can produce the highest test scores. But, he says, it has the worst education system in the world because those test scores are purchased by sacrificing creativity, divergent thinking, originality, and individualism."
Read more.

Sign up for our next school visit on Thursday, March 5th, 2015. Each event includes visits to two or three schools where you will see the 7 Principles in action. Talk with the principal, observe classrooms, meet with students, experience an advisory. Space is limited, so register early.

ISA in the News

Dr. Gerry House shared her thoughts on Career and Technical Education and how its helps prepare students for college and careers in this Scholastic Administrator blog.

Dr. House was also quoted in District Administration's "How Schools are Tackling Truancy" article.

An educational forecast from Scott Noon, executive director of business development at ISA, was featured in the January issue of District Administration magazine.

See Us at AASA

Drop by booth #745 and meet Scott Noon and Marcel Deans.




Insitute for Student Achievement


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