Breaking Down Silos to Put Students on the Path to Success: The Promise of Early College in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, a state where remedial education costs upwards of $57 million a year, there is a great opportunity to break down silos and build partnerships across secondary and postsecondary systems that support student learning and facilitate the transition from high school to college. This report, prepared for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Higher Education, examines the opportunity for early college high schools in Massachusetts. By collecting both in-state and national data, convening working groups, and engaging a broad group of stakeholders and subject matter experts, Parthenon find that a minimal additional per-pupil investment could yield vast returns by reducing the cost of higher education and enabling students to earn postsecondary credit before completing high school. 

Although Parthenon 's research is specific to Massachusetts' education system, their approach and conclusions are instructive for other states looking to strengthen and expand early college high schools. The report provides five design principles to ensure early college high schools are implemented successfully and with quality, including 1) equitable access, 2) guided academic pathways, 3) enhanced student supports, 4) relevant connections to careers, and 5) deep partnerships. 

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December 2016