Featured Publications

James J. Kemple, 2015

Between 2002 and 2008, 29 low-performing high schools were designated for closure in New York City. This report presents the results from the first rigorous study of the impact of these closures on students’ academic performance, attendance, and mobility. High School Closures in New York City: Impacts on Students' Academic Outcomes, Attendance, and Mobility

Lisa Merrill, Nina Siman, Suzanne Wulach, and David Kang, 2015

This is the first report from our evaluation of iMentor's College Ready Program, an intensive, four-year intervention that aims to help students develop the knowledge, behaviors, and skills they need to reach and succeed in college. Bringing Together Mentoring, Technology, and Whole School Reform: A First Look at the iMentor College Ready Program

All Publications

Connecting Teachers and Ed-Tech Developers: Lessons from NYC's "Gap App" Program
Adriana Villavicencio, Nina Siman, Camille Lafayette, and David Kang, 2016

This report presents findings from our study of the NYC DOE's "Gap App" challenge and pilot program, which solicited new ed-tech tools aimed at solving a specific learning challenge. A number of the tools were then piloted in NYC public schools. The report describes the design of the challenge, the implementation of the pilot, and provides a set of lessons that may inform similar projects. Connecting Teachers and Ed-Tech Developers: Lessons from NYC's "Gap App" Program

Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on NYC's Expanded Success Initiative
Adriana Villavicencio, Sarah Klevan, and David Kang, 2015

This report presents our findings from Year 2 of the Expanded Success Initiative (the 2013-2014 school year), drawing on interviews and focus groups with staff at ESI schools and a set of matched comparison schools, a student survey, and an analysis of student achievement data. Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on NYC's Expanded Success Initiative

Pathways to an Elite Education: Exploring Strategies to Diversify NYC's Specialized High Schools
Sean Corcoran (IESP) and Christine Baker-Smith, 2015

This brief examines NYC students’ pathways from middle school to matriculation at one of the City's elite specialized high schools, and simulates the effects of various admissions criteria that have been proposed as alternatives to the current text-based admissions policy. Pathways to an Elite Education: Exploring Strategies to Diversify NYC's Specialized High Schools

Better Evidence for Better Schools: Lessons from the First Years of the Research Alliance
Chelsea Farley, 2014

To date, the Research Alliance has undertaken more than 20 major studies. What have we learned from this work? What evidence have we amassed that can help City leaders better allocate resources, more meaningfully assess student progress and school performance, and ultimately serve students, families, and communities more effectively? And finally, what are the pressing issues in education policy and practice that we hope to tackle next? Better Evidence for Better Schools: Lessons from the First Years of the Research Alliance.

New York City Goes to College: A First Look
Vanessa M. Coca, 2014

This brief reports the first set of findings from a unique new dataset that tracks multiple cohorts of NYC students from 9th grade through college. It describes recent patterns of college enrollment, persistence, and completion for NYC students, and begins to explore factors that may affect their college outcomes. New York City Goes to College: A First Look at Patterns of College Enrollment, Persistence, and Degree Attainment for NYC High School Students.

Inside Success: Strategies of 25 Effective Small High Schools in NYC
Adriana Villavicencio, William H. Marinell, 2014

This report provides a rare and textured look at the work of 25 highly effective high schools in NYC. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, the report highlights features that educators see as most responsible for their school’s success. The findings paint a picture of how these features were developed in practice. They also shed light on challenges the schools face, as they attempt to sustain their impact over time. Inside Success: Strategies of 25 Effective Small High Schools in NYC.

Digital Collaboration and Classroom Practice: Educator Use of ARIS Connect
Nina Siman, Shifra M. Goldenberg, and Thomas Gold, 2014

ARIS Connect is a district-developed tool designed specifically to help educators improve their practice by sharing resources, posting questions, and giving one another feedback, both within schools and across the district. Our study investigated how educators perceive and use ARIS Connect and other so-called “Web 2.0” tools for sharing and collaborating. Digital Collaboration and Classroom Practice.

Promising Opportunities for Black and Latino Young Men: Findings from the Early Implementation of the Expanded Success Initiative
Adriana Villavicencio, Sarah Klevan, Brandon Guidry, and Suzanne Wulach, 2014

This report presents a rich picture of the roll out and early implementation of the Expanded Success Initiative, drawing on more than 100 interviews and focus groups with educators in ESI schools and with members of the NYC Department of Education’s ESI team. The report examines challenges schools experienced during Year 1 of the initiative, as well as changes in school practice that hold promise for reaching ESI’s goals. Promising Opportunities for Black and Latino Young Men.

Preparing Black and Latino Young Men for College and Careers: A Description of the Schools and Strategies in NYC’s Expanded Success Initiative
Sarah Klevan, Adriana Villavicencio, and Suzanne Wulach, 2013

This report describes the key components of ESI, the 40 schools that were selected to receive funding, the supports that were available in these schools prior to ESI, and the strategies that they planned to implement in the initiative’s first year. The report examines the extent to which the schools’ plans align with ESI’s design and goals, and begins to look at factors that might influence the potential to apply ESI more broadly. Preparing Black and Latino Young Men for College and Careers.

Moving the Needle: Exploring Key Levers to Boost College Readiness Among Black and Latino Males in New York City
Adriana Villavicencio, Dyuti Bhattacharya, and Brandon Guidry, 2013

This report examines the trajectory of Black and Latino young men on their path to college, zeroing in on points along that path where schools might provide more effective support. The report describes college-related outcomes and other indicators that help predict college readiness for Black and Latino male students over time, and discusses key contextual factors that underlie these educational outcomes. Moving the Needle.

Strengthening Assessments of School Climate: Lessons from the NYC School Survey
Lori Nathanson, Meghan McCormick, and James J. Kemple, 2013

A growing number of cities and states are using surveys to collect vital information about school climate from students, teachers and parents. The New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) annual survey of parents, students, and teachers is the largest of its kind in the United States. Since 2010, the Research Alliance has been working with the DOE to assess the reliability and validity of the survey’s measures.  Our new brief, Strengthening Assessments of School Climate, summarizes our findings and recommendations to date. An associated technical report, New York City School Survey 2008-2010, provides an account of our statistical exploration of the School Survey. Strengthening Assessments of School Climate.

High School Choice in New York City: A Report on the School Choices and Placements of Low-Achieving Students
Nathanson, Lori, Sean Corcoran (IESP), and Christine Baker-Smith, 2013

The New York City Department of Education’s recent efforts to improve high schools have in large part depended on a policy of choice, which enables families to select a school that they believe will best meet their child’s needs. This report examines the high school choices and placements of New York City’s lowest-achieving students, and assesses how these schools compare to those of their high-achieving peers. High School Choice in New York City.

The Condition of NYC High Schools: Examining Trends and Looking Toward the Future
Kemple, James J., 2013

Until the turn of the 21st century, high school graduation rates in New York City hovered at or below 50 percent, much lower than state and national averages. There was widespread agreement about the need to reform the City’s high schools and produce better results for students. This paper presents an independent analysis of how the high school landscape changed in New York City between 1999 and 2011 and, importantly, the extent to which key student outcomes improved during that time. The Condition of New York City High Schools.

Who Stays and Who Leaves? Findings from a Three-Part Study of Teacher Turnover in NYC Middle Schools
Marinell, William H. and Vanessa M. Coca with the Middle School Teacher Turnover Project, 2013

This paper synthesizes findings from the Research Alliance’s investigation of teacher turnover in New York City’s public middle schools. These years are widely recognized as a critical turning point for students, and the NYC Department of Education (DOE) is pursuing a range of middle school improvement initiatives. The stability of the middle school teaching force has the potential to facilitate or complicate these efforts, yet there have been few studies of the rates and patterns of teacher turnover in the City’s middle schools. Who Stays and Who Leaves?

Usage Patterns and Perceptions of the Achievement, Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS)
Gold, Thomas, Jessica Lent, Rachel Cole, James Kemple, Lori Nathanson, and Janet Brand, 2012

This report offers the first systematic examination of actual usage of New York City’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS), a comprehensive data system designed to put student information within easy reach of school administrators and teachers. The findings suggest that ARIS has been used successfully as a school-wide planning tool, but was less valuable as a direct aid to classroom instruction. Usage Patterns and Perceptions of ARIS.

Assessing the Early Impact of School of One: Evidence from Three School-Wide Pilots
Cole, Rachel, James J. Kemple and Micha D. Segeritz, 2012

School of One (SO1) is an innovative, technology-enhanced math program that seeks to “meet students where they are,” by creating individual learning plans, offering multiple teaching strategies, and using daily assessments to monitor progress and adapt lessons as needed. This report evaluates SO1’s impact on students’ state test scores during the first year of school-wide implementation in three New York City middle schools. Assessing the Early Impact of School of One.

Thoughts of Leaving: An Exploration of Why New York City Middle School Teachers Consider Leaving Their Classrooms
Pallas, Aaron M. and Clare K. Buckley, 2012

This report explores the conditions under which middle-school teachers in New York City leave their schools, and the consequences of this turnover.  The focus on middle schools stems from the widely-held view that the middle grades are a critical turning point in the lives of children, and that many New York City schoolchildren lose academic momentum in these grades, setting them on trajectories of failure as they move towards high school and life beyond it.  Thoughts of Leaving.

Navigating the Middle Grades
Kieffer, Michael and William Marinell, 2012

In this study, we investigate whether and how students' achievement and attendance change between grades four and eight and identify moments during this period when students' achievement and attendance suggest they will struggle to graduate from high school on time. Navigating the Middle Grades.

Learning from “Turnaround” Middle Schools: Strategies for Success
Villavicencio, Adriana and Justina K. Grayman, 2012

In New York City and around the nation, there is intense interest in the question of what it takes to turn around a low-performing school. This study focused on two sets of initially low-performing NYC middle schools. The first group (the “turnaround schools”) exhibited significant growth in academic performance between 2006 and 2010, while the other group saw minimal growth or remained stagnant during the same period. To gain an understanding of how the turnaround schools improved, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with principals and focus groups with teachers in both sets of schools. Learning from "Turnaround" Middle Schools.

Navigating the Middle Grades and Preparing Students for High School Graduation-Working Brief
Kieffer, Michael, William Marinell and Nickisha Stephenson, 2011

This brief presents preliminary findings from an exploratory study of New York City students’ transitions into, through, and out of the middle grades. Navigating the Middle Grades and Preparing Students for High School Graduation.

The Middle School Teacher Turnover Project - A Descriptive Analysis of Teacher Turnover in New York City’s Middle Schools
Marinell, William, 2011

This report presents findings from the first of three components of a mixed-methods study of middle school teacher turnover in New York City.  Our findings suggest an exodus of newly-arrived teachers from middle schools, and they raise questions for future research about the causes, consequences, and implications of teacher turnover. The remaining two components of the Research Alliance’s larger study – a survey and a case study analysis – will investigate these and other questions. The Middle School Teacher Turnover Project.

Research Colloquium—Learning from New York City’s Portfolio Strategy: How Policy and Practice Can Inform Research

On November 18, 2010, the Research Alliance, in partnership with the Future of Children Journal, hosted a research colloquium entitled Learning from New York City’s Portfolio Strategy: How Policy and Practice can Inform Research. We invite you to read more about the research colloquium and the research questions that were proposed to inform high school improvement initiatives in New York City.

Children First and Student Outcomes: 2003-2010
Kemple, James J.

The chapter addresses the ultimate goals of the reforms instituted under the banner of Children First: improved student performance and higher graduation rates. To date, the field has lacked a rigorous and independent analysis of the extent to which the city’s improved test scores and graduation rates reflect Children First effects per se or are artifacts of prior reform efforts or of other external influences occurring during the Children First era (2003-2010). This chapter seeks to fill that gap and provides compelling evidence of positive effects on student test scores and graduation rates.

Inaugural Paper Series

Presented at the inaugural conference of the Research Alliance for NYC Schools, New York, October 2007.

Schwartz, Amy Ellen., Rubenstein, Ross., and Stiefel, Leanna, 2007
Why Do Some Schools Get More and Others Less?
An Examination of School-Level Funding in New York City.

Boyd, Donald., Grossman, Pamela., Lankford, Hamilton, Loeb, Susanna., and Wyckoff, James H., 2007
Who Leaves?

Teacher Attrition and Student Achievement.

Easton, John Q., and Roderick, Melissa, 2007
Developing New Roles for Research in New Policy Environments .
The Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Pallas, Aaron M., and. Riehl,  Carolyn J., 2007
The demand for high school programs in New York City .


Note: If you have problems downloading any of our reports, please email research.alliance@nyu.edu