Evaluation of the Early College High School Initiative
Since 2002, the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has funded a groundbreaking initiative designed to improve the college readiness and college completion rates of students underrepresented in postsecondary education. The Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) funds the development of Early College Schools (ECSs) that provide students the opportunity to simultaneously pursue a high school diploma and earn college credits. AIR, with our partner SRI International, evaluate the ECHSI using qualitative (e.g., interviews with grantees and site visits to schools) and quantitative data sources (e.g., surveys of students and collection of school data) to document and describe the implementation of this initiative and the performance of students, particularly in comparison to other students.
Major findings to date include:
- ECSs do serve the intended target population, usually enrolling higher percentages of underrepresented students than would be expected given their surrounding districts.
- ECSs have higher proficiency rates, on average, on state standardized assessments and higher estimated on-time graduation rates than their surrounding districts.
- Students earned an average of 23 college credits by the time they graduated from an ECS.
- In the fall after graduation, 88 percent of graduates enrolled in college.