Success without Selection

Identifying district high schools that help underserved students enroll and persist in college

Most research into student achievement reveals a troubling truth: Performance is highly correlated with demographics. But we know that there are schools across the nation that are successful at preparing all students—regardless of income, race, or ethnicity— for college and for life. Unfortunately, many of the highest performing public schools hand-pick their students through a selection process that confounds efforts to disentangle school quality from other factors.

This paper uses newly disaggregated data to identify nonselective public high schools that are particularly successful at helping their students from low-income families not only graduate, but enroll in college and persist for a second year. It also draws on findings from a survey of the leaders of these schools, outlining the practices they attribute to their success at supporting students from underserved communities. Download report.

This paper is part of a series of reports which identify promising practices among high schools and districts based on findings from GreatSchools’ 2019 College Success Awards.

Also in this series:

What Makes a District Succeed?
A closer look at school districts that are preparing their underserved students for college and beyond.

Charter Network Success
An analysis of charter school types that successfully prepare students for college and beyond.

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