Exploring the Effects of Early College High Schools on Student Achievement and Momentum: Examples from New York City
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Early evidence indicates that Early College schools have a positive effect on students’ academic outcomes (AIR, 2013; Edmunds, 2010). Though promising, the generalizability of these findings may be limited given the populations and schools included. The current study addressed this by using a large and highly diverse sample of students from New York City, which is the largest and most diverse urban school system in the United States. We employed a quasi-experimental design to examine the effect of Early College schools on underrepresented and underserved students’ academic achievement. Using detailed academic and demographic administrative data provided by the NYCDOE, propensity score methods were used on over 460,000 students enrolled in New York City public schools from the 2006-07 through the 2012-13 academic years to develop a matched comparison group of students who were similar to CUNY ECI students on all observable characteristics (e.g., prior academic achievement and attendance, student demographics). After matching, we evaluated the academic performance and postsecondary outcomes of CUNY ECI relative to matched comparison students from middle school through college. Preliminary findings yielded significant and positive effects of CUNY ECI schools on students’ high school standardized exam and SAT performance, as well as high school graduation rate. CUNY ECI students also earned more college credits, earned higher college GPAs, and persisted longer in the CUNY system than comparison students. Results are highly valuable for informing policies concerning new approaches towards improving access to and achievement in postsecondary education for underserved and underrepresented students.