Information Brief 2012-40

Promoting a Clear Focus on Academics

A Look at Higher Performing High Schools

A fall 2011 study surveyed teachers and administrators from higher performing high schools and assessed what school qualities educators see as contributing most to student achievement.

Educators at high performing high schools believe the key factors contributing to college and career readiness at their schools include having high expectations of both students and teachers, making academics a number one priority, and maximizing instructional time in core academic subjects. The chart shows that ratings were clearly higher for these school qualities than were typically reported across all 46 qualities surveyed.

School Qualities Promoting a Clear Focus on Academics

School QualityIn AgreementResponding Contributes "a Great Deal"
Averages across 46 school qualities surveyed75%44%
This school has an established climate of high expectations for students.89%74%
This school has an established climate of high expectations for teachers.92%68%
School administrators make academics the number one priority at our school.84%60%
Instructional time is maximized in core academic subjects.88%71%

Note: Data come from 272 educators from 63 high performing high schools across 25 states. Schools were selected based on students’ growth towards college and career readiness or based on improvement in average ACT scores over time.

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