New High School Choice Report by Research Alliance Finds Low Achieving Students are Choosing Lower-Performing Schools, Compared to Peers


A new report released last week by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools and the Institute for Education and Social Policy, looks closely at the city’s most vulnerable students; comparing their high school choices and placements to those of their higher-achieving peers.


Each year, New York City engages some 80,000 8th graders in a complex high school choice process, designed to allow families to select a school that they believe will best serve their child’s needs. Students sort through the 600-page Directory of NYC Public High Schools, go to open houses and take tours, and ultimately rank up to 12 school programs they would like to attend, choosing from nearly 700 programs in 400 schools.

“High School Choice in New York City: A Report on the School Choices and Placement of Low-Achieving Students,” released last week by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools and the Institute for Education and Social Policy, explores five years of data (2007-2011), looking closely at the city’s most vulnerable students—those scoring among the bottom 20 percent on the state’s math or English tests—and comparing their high school choices and placements to those of their higher-achieving peers.

Key findings of the study include:
• Low-achieving students were matched to schools that were lower performing, on average, than those of all other students.
• This was driven by differences in students’ initial choices—not by differential match rates. About half of all students (both lower- and higher-achieving) received their first-choice school, and more than three quarters were matched to one of their top three choices.
• Both low- and higher-achieving students 500

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