Sixth-Year Evaluation Data Show Clear Evidence of Linked Learning Success

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2015
Contact: Hilary McLean
Phone: (916) 248-4848
Email: hilary@linkedlearning.org

Sixth-Year Evaluation Data Show Clear Evidence of Linked Learning Success

SACRAMENTO– New data from SRI International’s Center for Education Policy (SRI) show that students in certified pathways within the California Linked Learning District Initiative are more prepared to succeed in college, career, and life compared to peers in traditional high school programs.

Launched in 2009 to develop district-wide systems of Linked Learning and to provide evidence of their impact on student outcomes, the Linked Learning District Initiative includes high schools in nine districts across the state of California. As previous evaluations have shown, the data from the 6th year evaluation highlight that Linked Learning students in certified pathways are earning more credits than similar peers in traditional high schools—a critical element of on-time graduation. Compared with similar peers, Linked Learning students are also more likely to graduate from high school.

“The multi-year evaluation of the Linked Learning District Initiative shows that high quality Linked Learning is making a significant difference in student outcomes,” said Miya Warner at the Center for Education Policy of SRI International. “These data show the impressive gains Linked Learning has achieved across the state.”

“One of the most important takeaways from this year’s evaluation of the Linked Learning District Initiative is that quality matters,” said Christopher Cabaldon, President of the Linked Learning Alliance. “The evaluation clearly shows that students get the most benefit from Linked Learning when their pathway is of high quality. As districts and regions are working to expand Linked Learning opportunities to students throughout California and beyond, our field must support, incentivize, and recognize pathways that meet high standards and are effectively preparing students for college, career and life.”

Among the findings, Taking Stock of the California Linked Learning Initiative: Sixth-Year Evaluation Report reveals that Linked Learning students in certified pathways, compared with similar peers:
• Accumulated 13.3 more credits—equivalent to 2.6 more courses or about half of a semester—over the four years of high school;
• Were 1.9 percentage points less likely to drop out of high school and 3.7 percentage points more likely to earn a high school diploma;
• Had California State University GPAs that were 0.14 points higher; and
• Were 5.3 percentage points more likely to be classified as ready or conditionally ready for college in English language arts on the Early Assessment Program exam.

Further findings from the report reveal:
• Students coming into Linked Learning with low prior achievement were less likely to drop out, accumulated more credits, completed more a-g courses, and had higher GPAs than similar students enrolled in traditional high schools; and
• English languague learners earned 15.2 more credits and African American students earned 29.3 more credits—more than an additional semester’s worth—than similar students in traditional high school programs.

With support from The James Irvine Foundation, ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career managed the California Linked Learning District Initiative to support implementation of Linked Learning in nine school districts. “Collectively, they serve more than 281,000 of the nearly 2 million high school students enrolled in California public schools.”

“We’re thrilled that the investment has led to such a positive impact in preparing California’s students for college and careers in the evolving global economy,” said Elizabeth González, Director for the Youth Program at The James Irvine Foundation. “These results have tremendous implications as the Linked Learning movement expands across our state.”

Linked Learning pathways provide high school students with an educational experience that integrates rigorous academics that meet college-ready standards with sequenced, high-quality career-technical education, work-based learning, and supports to help students stay on track. Linked Learning pathways are organized around industry-sector themes in fields such as engineering, health care, performing arts, and law. The industry theme is woven into lessons taught by teachers who collaborate across subject areas with input from working professionals, and reinforced when students participate in work-based learning experiences with real employers. This approach is designed to make learning more like the real world of work, and help students answer the question, “Why do I need to know this?”

Because the evaluations of the Linked Learning District Initiative has have provided evidence that this approach is producing positive results for students, California policymakers have invested more than $2 billion to advance this approach through the Career Pathways Trust, SB 1070, and the CTE Incentive Grant. With this fiscal support, districts and regional consortiums across California are building and expanding Linked Learning pathways, providing more opportunities for students to participate in a transformative approach to education that is a personally relevant, engaging experience. More students will dream bigger by being exposed to previously unimagined college and career opportunities.

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About Linked Learning
Linked Learning is a successful approach to education based on the idea that students work harder and dream bigger if their education is relevant to them. The Linked Learning approach integrates rigorous academics that meet college-ready standards with sequenced, high-quality career-technical education, work-based learning, and supports to help students stay on track. For Linked Learning students, education is organized around industry-sector themes. The industry theme is woven into lessons taught by teachers who collaborate across subject areas with input from working professionals, and reinforced by work-based learning with real employers. This approach is designed to make learning more like the real world of work, and help students answer the question, “Why do I need to know this?”www.LinkedLearning.org.

About SRI International
SRI International is a nonprofit research and innovation center headquartered in Silicon Valley. Government and business clients worldwide come to SRI for pioneering solutions in biomedical sciences and health, chemistry and materials, computing, education, economic development, energy, security and defense, robotics, sensing, and more. We provide research, laboratory and advisory services, technology development and licenses, deployable systems, products, and venture opportunities. Our innovations have created new industries and marketplace value, and lasting benefits to society. Visit SRI’s website and Timeline of Innovation to learn more.