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New York Research Partnership for Alternative Pathways

Overview

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 and variations in the availability of career and technical education programs across the state.


Goals

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

Lead

Katherine ShieldsKatherine Shields
Senior Research Associate
REL Northeast & Islands
kshields@edc.org


Projects

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 Supply in New York: Pathways, Placement, and Retention
Teacher shortages are prevalent in specific districts and content areas in New York State. For this study, REL Northeast & Islands is working with the New York State Education Department to examine certification pathways by which new teachers enter the workforce, the content areas of their certificates, where new teachers are employed, and their retention rates. Researchers are also examining the extent to which teachers with at least one year of experience obtain multiple certificates, thereby enabling them to teach in more than one subject, and their subsequent retention rates. 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.

Members

Name Title Organization
MaryEllen Elia Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York New York State Education Department (NYSED)
John D’Agati Deputy Commissioner, Higher Education NYSED
David Cantaffa Assistant Provost for Educator Preparation The State University of New York
Angela Pagano Associate Professor and Fellow in NYSED Office of Higher Education SUNY Cortland
Marybeth Casey Director of Curriculum, P–12 Instructional Support NYSED
Jessica Todtman Chief of Staff, P–20 Initiatives, Office of Education Policy NYSED