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Collaborative Research on the Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Model (2012-2015)

About Bard High School Early College

Bard High School Early College (BHSEC), a pioneering early college high school, opened in 2001 as a collaboratively developed venture of Bard College and the New York City Department of Education. It was created to bring excellent educational experiences - and a chance to experience college - to students of diverse backgrounds and interests. Unlike other early college high schools, almost all courses at both the secondary and postsecondary level are taught by college faculty. The curriculum is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and students learn critical thinking skills beginning in their first days in the school.  Students graduate with both a New York State High School Regents Diploma and an Associate of Arts degree from Bard College.

About this Project

NCREST partnered with Bard High School Early College, to document key design features and practices associated with its model. In recent years, there has been considerable interest in replicating the BHSEC model as well as in adopting or adapting best practices. With these possibilities in mind, Booth Ferris Foundation awarded BHSEC a grant to conduct a series of studies to document and validate its model. In this project, NCREST assisted BHSEC to:

  1. Develop, pilot test, and implement a process for documenting the BHSEC model.
  2. Create a series of reports and tools used in working with schools, districts, school development organizations, and policy makers seeking to understand and replicate the BHSEC model overall, as well as key component parts.
  3. Offer professional development that encourages the use of research findings to continuously improve practice in BHSEC schools.

Over the course of this project, NCREST facilitated a series of short, intensive workshops in which educators with knowledge of major elements within BHSEC convened to talk about how they are structured, the features that make them most effective, and any evidence of associated student gains. In addition, NCREST researchers conducted individual interviews with a range of BHSEC staff and visited BHSEC schools to observe and document key activities. The result was a series of short, targeted reports on the following key facets of the BHSEC model:

  • The design of the BHSEC curriculum
  • The BHSEC seminar
  • Critical thinking
  • Faculty selection and support
  • Student admissions and outreach
  • Student supports
  • The BHSEC structure and organization.


For more information, contact Elisabeth Barnett at

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