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Beating the Odds: How Thirteen NYC Schools Bring Low-Performing Ninth Graders to Timely Graduation and College Enrollment

This report describes a qualitative study, conducted in 2006 by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, of a small group of New York City high schools that were “beating the odds” by producing higher than predicted graduation and college-going rates for ninth-graders who entered with far below-average eighth-grade reading and math scores. Institute staff identified four key strategies that helped these students beat the odds: academic rigor, networks of timely supports, college expectations and access, and effective use of data. The report concludes with recommendations for maintaining and scaling up the success of these schools through better distribution of resources, greater school control over enrollment, a stronger system of support and accountability, and a district office of postsecondary education.

Research and Reports