Secondary Education

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Secondary education encompasses the years between elementary school and college, with curricula ranging from language arts, social studies, and mathematics to vocational and physical education. RAND conducts research on secondary education throughout the world, exploring such topics as the role of sports and physical education, programs that improve reading, the effects of school choice on academic achievement, and school-based drug prevention and education programs, among others.

  • Research Brief

    Getting Students to and Through Advanced Math

    Students who take precalculus, calculus, and advanced placement math classes get a leg up when it comes to securing college admission and careers in STEM fields. But a large portion of U.S. high school students don't take advanced math. What explains this gap, and what can be done to close it?

    Apr 17, 2023

  • Essay

    A Four-Day School Week? Here Are the Costs and Benefits

    Hundreds of small school districts across America have cut one day a week from their calendars. A shorter school week helps them compete for teachers and reduce costs. Teachers and parents love it. But is it really in the best interests of students?

    Aug 31, 2023

Explore Secondary Education

  • Teacher helping student in classroom

    Multimedia

    A Snapshot of Anti-Bias Education in U.S. K–12 Schools

    In this webinar, RAND researchers share data from a national teacher survey administered in spring 2021 concerning the extent to which public school teachers report addressing anti-bias education in their K-12 classrooms. Discussants from organizations that support high-quality teaching and learning reflect on the findings and their implications for helping all students in public schools succeed.

    Apr 18, 2022

  • Teenage boy doing schoolwork at home

    Multimedia

    The Pandemic’s Effect on College and Career Readiness Supports

    RAND policy researcher Christine Mulhern describes findings from her recent study that examined how college and career readiness supports changed during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Apr 14, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    The West's Response to Russia, the State of the Union, Outer Space: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to prevent Russia's war on Ukraine from becoming a war with NATO, insights from RAND on the State of the Union, the future of outer space, and more.

    Mar 4, 2022

  • Teenage student getting help from her parent during remote school, photo by Imgorthand/Getty Images

    Report

    Educating Students with Disabilities: Lessons from the Pandemic

    A survey of U.S. educators sheds light on the obstacles that teachers and principals faced—even before the pandemic—that make supporting students with disabilities especially challenging in the COVID-19 era.

    Mar 3, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Talking business: How increasing languages education in the UK could benefit the economy

    Findings show that investing in languages education in UK secondary schools will return more than the investment cost. The benefit-to-cost ratio is about 2:1, meaning that every £1 spent on extra language provision could return £2 for the economy.

    Mar 2, 2022

  • Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin's adjutant general, addresses the crowd as the keynote speaker during the Challenge Academy's June 16 graduation ceremony

    Report

    Developing Outcome Measures for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

    The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe is a residential program for youth experiencing difficulties in traditional high school. This capstone report describes some of RAND's research and analyses on the ChalleNGe program from late 2017 through mid-2020.

    Mar 2, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Responding to Russia, Sex Trafficking, Anti-Bias Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the false choice between responding to Russia or deterring China, how substance use and sex trafficking are connected, providing anti-bias education in U.S. schools, and more.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • Students hold signs inside the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda in opposition to bills Kentucky lawmakers say would eradicate critical race theory from state schools, January 12, 2022, photo by Alton Strupp/USA Today via Reuters

    Report

    Anti-Bias Education in U.S. Public Schools

    Teaching students explicitly about issues of identity, diversity, equity, and bias can lead to positive outcomes. Nearly three in four K–12 teachers reported that they provide such anti-bias instruction, but more than half said that their school's or district's curriculum materials did not adequately address anti-bias topics.

    Feb 22, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Investment in Languages Education Could Return Double for UK Economy

    Languages play a significant role in international trade, and not sharing a common language acts as a non-tariff trade barrier. Benefit-to-cost ratios for increasing Arabic, Mandarin, French, or Spanish education in the UK are estimated to be at least 2:1, meaning that spending £1 could return £2.

    Feb 21, 2022

  • Adam Kern, principal of Clarkston Junior High School in Michigan, checks students' temperatures during a field trip, Sterling, Virginia, June 18, 2021, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

    Report

    How Were Principals Doing One Year into the Pandemic?

    Four out of five secondary school principals reported experiencing frequent job-related stress during the 2020–2021 school year. As the pandemic persists, what could help reduce the burden on school leaders?

    Jan 26, 2022

  • Female student taking notes while wearing face mask, photo by FG Trade/Getty Images

    Report

    Changes in College and Career Readiness Supports During the First Year of COVID-19

    Emerging evidence suggests that high school students' postsecondary aspirations and their engagement with school counselors have changed during the pandemic. What were some of the perceived barriers to supports for postsecondary transitions?

    Jan 12, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Widening the Pathway: Implementation and Impacts of Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs Across Three Contexts

    The authors describe implementation of three alternative teacher preparation programs—called Teacher Effectiveness and Certification (TEACh) programs—and their effect on teacher recruitment, teacher retention, and student achievement.

    Dec 16, 2021

  • Students wear masks during class to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Santa Fe South High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, September 1, 2021, photo by Nick Oxford/Reuters

    Report

    How Social and Emotional Learning Works in Innovative Schools

    Social and emotional learning (SEL) is critical for preparing students for college and career success. Opportunity by Design high schools provide a unique perspective on what implementation of integrated, schoolwide SEL can look like when it is a core design feature from school inception.

    Dec 14, 2021

  • High school students raise their hands during class, photo by skynesher/Getty Images

    Report

    Are Educators Considering Student Voice?

    Asking students to voice their perceptions can provide valuable insights that adults in a school do not have access to, while also generating more student engagement in learning.

    Nov 17, 2021

  • A teacher works with students in a math class while wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Santa Fe South High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, September 1, 2021, photo by Nick Oxford/Reuters

    Report

    How Do Teachers Identify Supports for Struggling Students?

    A survey of 6th- to 12th-grade teachers found that to determine academic needs they rely most often on information gathered from personal interactions with students and from students' performance. And more than half of them look to school and district colleagues first to learn about available interventions.

    Nov 2, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Learn Together Surveys: 2021 Technical Documentation and Survey Results

    This report provides information about the sample, survey instrument, and results data for the 2021 Learn Together Surveys that were administered to secondary principals and teachers in March 2021 via the RAND Corporation's American Educator Panels.

    Nov 2, 2021

  • Students draw in class at Wilder Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, August 11, 2021, photo by Amira Karaoud/Reuters

    Research Brief

    Benefits and Drawbacks of the Four-Day School Week

    A four-day school week is becoming more common, especially in states with large rural areas. Champions of the shorter week contend that it saves money, improves student attendance, and helps recruit and retain teachers to rural districts. But what does the evidence say?

    Oct 7, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Does Four Equal Five? Implementation and Outcomes of the Four-Day School Week

    The authors provide information on the implementation and outcomes of the four-day school week using quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of sources, including surveys of parents and students in 36 districts in three states.

    Oct 7, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Parents Remain Concerned About Safety of In-Person Instruction

    A gap remains between white parents and Black and Hispanic parents in their preferences for in-person schooling, but it has narrowed since May. The RAND Corporation survey, funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, details parents' responses concerning school hesitancy and preferences for COVID-19 safety practices in U.S. schools in fall 2021.

    Aug 18, 2021

  • Students return to school wearing masks at Wilder Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, August 11, 2021, photo by Amira Karaoud/Reuters

    Report

    How Concerned Are Parents About the Safety of In-Person Instruction?

    A RAND survey details parents' responses concerning school hesitancy and preferences for COVID-19 safety practices in U.S. schools. RAND fielded the survey July 16–29, just as the delta variant greatly increased the number of cases nationwide.

    Aug 18, 2021