Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do Students Complete More Advanced Courses in Magnet or Comprehensive High Schools?

A new REL West study, conducted in collaboration with Clark County School District in Nevada, examined whether a student’s likelihood of completing an advanced course in high school differs based on whether he or she attended a magnet or comprehensive high school.

The REL West study team conducted a series of logistic regressions using records for 26,529 Clark County School District (CCSD) graduates from 43 high schools in 2011 and 2012. Student achievement prior to entering high school was measured using each student’s grade 8 ELA and mathematics scores from Nevada’s Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT).

Key findings include:

•    When students’ prior achievement was taken into account, graduates of magnet high schools were more likely than graduates of comprehensive high schools to complete at least one honors English language arts course; however, there was no difference between graduates of magnet and comprehensive schools in likelihood of completing an honors math course.

•    The type of high school attended contributed to the likelihood of students completing an Advanced Placement English language arts or Advanced Placement math course, but the likelihood also depended on students’ prior achievement. The relationship between prior achievement and completing an Advanced Placement course was stronger at comprehensive high schools than at magnet high schools.

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