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From Remediation to Acceleration: Early Lessons from Two Philadelphia Back on Track Schools

Cecilia Le and Lili Allen

Dropout recovery schools and programs today face the challenge of preparing students to not only complete high school but also succeed in postsecondary education. What does it take to move from “remediation,” guided by a minimal standard for a high school diploma, toward “acceleration,” rooted in a higher standard leading all young people as rapidly as possible to credentials that employers value?

From Remediation to Acceleration, a new paper from JFF, shows how two of Philadelphia’s Accelerated Schools are doing just that.

These Back on Track schools, which serve returning dropouts and other students behind in credits, teach college-ready skills using JFF’s Common Instructional Framework, which makes challenging material engaging and accessible.

In one year, more than two-thirds of their students progressed two or more grade levels in reading, and the same was true in math. Also, between one-fourth and one-third of students advanced four grade levels in just one year. The schools are now in their third year of implementation, and JFF is working with city and educational leaders to expand their success.