Powering educational systems by generating, translating and disseminating the best research, information and knowledge
SERVE Center - The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

High School Reform

Across the U.S. people are concerned about ensuring that all students graduate from high school prepared for work and further education. SERVE is making a major contribution in this area by conducting original research on high school reform efforts, by synthesizing the best of available research, and by helping schools and districts apply research to practice.

Our current work is focused in three main areas:

  • Examining high school reform models. SERVE is conducting original research to look at the implementation and impact of high school reform models. We are conducting a seven-year experimental study of the impact of early college high schools. We are also evaluating two Investing in Innovation projects that seek to apply early college principles to traditional high schools. 
  • Improving existing high schools. SERVE identifies best practices and creates user-friendly products to help high schools improve. For example, we have recently published a monograph documenting the process behind a successful high school turnaround. 
  • Increasing rigor. Rigor is the new buzz word around high school, yet many people are unclear what rigor is and how to implement it. We have summarized research on rigor and provide professional development and technical assistance around implementing rigor in the classroom. 

SERVE web page For additional resources related to this topic, visit our High School Reform topical page.

students in group

A Better 9th Grade A Better 9th Grade: Early Results from an Experimental Study of the Early College High School Model

To increase the number of students graduating from high school prepared for college, North Carolina has established the largest number of Early College High Schools (ECHS) in the United States. According to 9th grade results from a rigorous, experimental study, North Carolina’s early college high schools are creating more positive school environments for students resulting in improved attendance, reduced suspensions, and increased numbers of students on-track for college. These schools are also successfully expanding the initial part of the college preparatory pipeline for students of all backgrounds.