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New York Research Partnership for Alternative Pathways


New York State education leaders seek to address racial and socioeconomic gaps in high school graduation rates, as well as rates of remedial mathematics placement among those who do graduate and attend college. In 2015, New York began offering alternative pathways to a high school diploma that allow students to use approved assessments in the arts, career and technical education, and other subject areas as a way to meet some graduation requirements. The New York Research Partnership for Alternative Pathways collaborates on research focused on these alternative graduation pathways and other problems of practice, including the rate of remediation among state college students.


  • Examine high school diploma attainment rates in relation to implementation of a 2015 assessment graduation pathway policy, particularly for groups of students with historically low graduation rates.
  • Examine data available to inform the state’s understanding of the college remediation status of New York students in relation to their high school mathematics coursework and current state mathematics graduation requirements.


Katherine ShieldsDr. Katherine Shields
Research Scientist
REL Northeast & Islands


Coaching Project: High School Math Course-taking Patterns for Postsecondary Success
This project is building the capacity of the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to design and/or conduct research on mathematics course-taking and college readiness in order to inform the state’s decisions about high school curricular and graduation requirements. REL Northeast & Islands is partnering with NYSED to construct a theory of change for how high school mathematics preparation affects college mathematics success, identify data elements aligned with the theory of change, examine potential sources of evidence regarding equity of access to higher-level mathematics courses among different student populations, and develop researchable questions based on its own middle and high school course-taking data. The project is also exploring mechanisms for linking individual student records from K–12 with the State University of New York’s (SUNY) postsecondary records. The project will prepare NYSED and SUNY for a potential future correlational study of the relationship between high school math course-taking and college remediation.

Research Study: Teacher Shortages in New York State: New Teachers' Certification Pathways, Certification Areas, District of Employment, and Retention in the Same District
Teacher shortages are prevalent in specific districts and content areas in New York State. One way to address these shortages is through the certification and placement of new teachers. This study explored the pathways through which new teachers between 2015/16 and 2017/18 earned certificates, their content areas, and their subsequent placement and retention in districts across the state, particularly high-need districts. Learn more.

Research Study: Additional Certification for Teachers in New York State: Teachers' Experience and Employment Location, Certification Pathways, and Certification Areas
New York State is experiencing teacher shortages in specific subject areas. One way to address these shortages is for certified teachers to earn additional certificates qualifying them to fill positions in shortage areas. This study explored patterns in how teachers with at least one year of experience in 2015/16 earned additional certificates between October 2015 and October 2017. These patterns included which teachers earned additional certificates, their certification pathways, and their additional certification areas. Learn more.

Research Study: A Descriptive Analysis of Expanded Pathways to Graduation in New York State
As part of a transition to new college and career readiness standards, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in 2015 added a new “4+1” option by which students could earn the state’s prestigious Regents diploma. Previously, graduating high school students had to pass five required statewide Regents exams to earn a Regents diploma. Now students have the option of taking Regents exams in four core academic areas (English, mathematics, science, and social studies), and completing the fifth exam requirement with an approved, non-Regents but comparably rigorous assessment in areas that include the arts and career and technical education. For this study, REL Northeast & Islands worked with NYSED to examine Regents diploma attainment rates in the state after implementation of the policy, particularly among groups of students with historically low graduation rates. Results of the study provided timely information to NYSED and the New York State Board of Regents as they monitor the outcomes of the new policy to determine whether or not the intended groups of students are using the 4+1 graduation pathway, and which pathways and assessments students use. Learn more.

Webinar: Setting Up for Success: Preparing High School Students for College-level Math (February 14, 2019)
This webinar presented research on efforts to reduce rates of student placement in college remedial mathematics. Dr. Angela Boatman, assistant professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University, shared findings from a recent impact evaluation of a pre-college remediation intervention—the Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS) program in Tennessee. Dr. Marla Davis from the Mississippi Department of Education discussed her state’s experience implementing a pre-college math readiness program, including challenges, successes, and lessons learned. View event details.


Name Title Organization
Allison Armour-Garb P-20 Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning, Office of Higher Education New York State Education Department (NYSED)
David Cantaffa Associate Provost for Academic Programs The State University of New York-Central
Marybeth Casey Director of Curriculum, P-12 Instructional Support NYSED
John D’Agati Senior Deputy Commissioner, Office of Education Policy NYSED