Coalition for Community Schools - Because Every Child Deserves Every Chance

Students Succeed Academically

Below is the research for each of the indicators for the result: Students Succeed Academically

Click here to access publications related to this result.


Standardized test scores

Standardized test scores measure a student’s academic performance against that of a normed group.  By demonstrating what a student knows, standardized tests can indicate the successfulness of a school’s curriculum.  While high scores point to academic achievement, standardized test scores measure only a limited range of knowledge; also, such scores do not project a student’s academic potential.

Standardized tests measure a students’ mastery of the basic skills needed for academic success.  This is not to say that standardized tests are the most precise tools to measure all that a student has accomplished in school or how he/she will perform academically in the future.  Another limit of such tests is that they do not measure social and other non-academic competencies which attribute to a student’s long-term success. 

Students demonstrate competencies through multiple modes

Standardized tests measure only a limited range of students’ knowledge. Through such alternative assessment systems as student portfolios and long-term interdisciplinary projects, students demonstrate a broader depth of knowledge than that which they could show on a standardized exam. Using alternative assessment systems, educators can monitor what students learn via their multiple intelligences. Portfolio-based assessment, for example, allows students to demonstrate their personal, civic, emotional, social, and intellectual growth, as well as academic learning.1

Graduation rates

Graduation rates indicate academic success, as they mean that students have sufficiently mastered K-12 curriculum to move on from grade 12.  Attainment of a high school diploma is a significant indicator of success later in life, especially among poor and minority students. High school graduates have been shown to attain higher rates of employment and higher earnings than those who did not  complete high school.2

Drop-out rates

Research has shown that high school dropouts have higher unemployment rates and lower earnings than high school graduates.3

Teacher attendance rates

In a 1998 study of student academic performance based on attendance, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) found that,

students attending classes with high teacher attendance rates scored an average of two to three NCE (normal curve equivalent) points higher than students attending classes with low teacher attendance rates . . . . Although students attending classes with high teacher attendance rates scored significantly higher in Reading, Mathematics and Language compared to students attending classes with low teacher attendance rates, the strength of association (correlation) was quite low between teacher attendance rate and student performance on the Stanford 9.
Student attendance rates, especially when paired with teacher attendance rates, were found to be a more accurate predictor of students’ academic success than teacher attendance rates alone.4

Back to top

1The Rural School and Community Trust, 2003.
2Peng, 1985, in "Paths to High School Graduation or Dropout: A Longitudinal Study of a First-Grade Cohort," Margaret E. Ensminger and Anita L. Slusarcick, Sociology of Education, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 95-113

4455 Connecticut Avenue, NW  |  Suite 310  |  Washington, DC 20008   |   Tel. 202.822.8405 X156  |  Fax 202.872.4050  |  Email
© Coalition of Community Schools. All Rights Reserved.
Home  |  About Community Schools  |  Policy & Advocacy  |  Results  |  Resources  |  Your Leadership Role  |  Multimedia  |  About Us  |  Search