Key Questions

1. Did the population of students served by Chicago High School Redesign Initiative (CHSRI) schools change over time as CHSRI created new schools?

2. On average, how did CHSRI schools compare to other schools serving similar students in terms of absences, academic achievement, and graduation? Have these differences changed over time?

3. To what extent did CHSRI graduation rates vary across schools? Were some CHSRI schools more effective at graduating the students they serve? And, were CHSRI schools more effective at graduating some students than others?


This report is the final in a UChicago Consortium series focused on small high schools created by the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative CHSRI, a partnership between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and local foundations. Between 2002 and 2007, the CHSRI initiative opened 23 small high schools designed to address high dropout rates and low academic performance at the high school level. In this report we present a close look at the schools making up the initiative, showing the characteristics of the students served by CHSRI schools and examining the degree to which this initiative remained true to its original goal of serving the needs of under-served students as it grew and changed over time. We then update our analyses of student outcomes, presenting all six years of data from the cohorts of students who started at CHSRI schools in fall 2002 through fall 2009. The findings in this report mirror what other researchers across the country have found: Small schools seem to provide benefits related to the closer relationships among students and between students and adults. In particular, they seem to have a beneficial effect on graduation rates. However, academic achievement, as measured by student test scores, did not improve significantly at CHSRI schools.