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Policy and Research Issues: The Changing Environment of High School

Issue: The effect of the nationís shifting demographics and the growth in language minority and first-generation student populations on student experience and performance in secondary school.

Policy/Practice Questions: Several indicators point to emerging challenges as school systems work to accommodate students entering high school with special language needs and from different cultural backgrounds. These indicators include measures of outcomes for individual students, such as high dropout rates, particularly among first-generation immigrants.

HSLS:09 Role:

  • HSLS:09's primary role in this area was to document existing strategies that schools are using to deal with these changes. In particular, the data can be used to examine the extent to which the racial/ethnic composition of the school was associated with student outcomes, such as on-time graduation and college going behavior.
  • Additionally, the data can be used to determine what school features tend to mitigate the academic challenges posed by students' varied languages and cultural backgrounds.