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Measuring Success

Education researchers study whether new program will fast-track student success

A new statewide high school graduation initiative—the Foundation High School Program (FHSP)—aims to give students in-depth knowledge of particular subject areas, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and more. The goal is to better prepare students for the workforce by helping them make more effective decisions when choosing a college and major, thus increasing the likelihood of degree completion.

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To find out how well the program is meeting that goal, College of Education Associate Professor Yi “Leaf” Zhang and Professor Maria Trache are analyzing data from more than 400,000 students who went through FHSP during high school into their first four years of higher education. They hope to shed light on how the program affects student performance and also help administrators improve FHSP. Their work is funded by a $265,531 grant from the Greater Texas Foundation.

“If a student comes into school with little idea of what they want to do, it can lead to wasted time and more money spent,” Dr. Trache says. “This program tries to alleviate that. But no evidence of student success has been provided, and we hope to make the program more efficient and effective for administrators and students by finding empirical answers to our study’s questions.”

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