As a hub for the Linked Learning movement, the Alliance offers research, stories, and tools that help people understand the impact of Linked Learning and implement this approach at high levels of quality.
This brief provides estimates of the effect of Linked Learning participation on students’ likelihood of enrolling in college and persisting into a second year, with particular attention to outcomes for specific student groups: students with low prior academic achievement; those with high prior achievement; English learners; and African-American, Latino, and female students. Because the Linked Learning approach is designed to combine rigorous academics with a career technical education sequence, these outcomes are crucial to gauging Linked Learning’s efficacy in preparing students for college as well as career. This analysis relies on data from the National Student Clearinghouse, which captures enrollment in approximately 97 percent of all 2-year and 4-year postsecondary institutions.
21st century skills, also known as soft skills, are necessary to succeed in today’s workforce. Yet, many employers cite that students graduate unequipped with these basic skill sets, making it challenging for both students and employers to transition from a school to work setting. Linked Learning is a solution to this challenge. Linked Learning students gain technical knowledge and skills, 21st century skills, productive dispositions and behaviors, and professionalism needed to meet modern workforce demands.
What Works Clearinghouse, an investment of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education, has released a new practice guide to provide educators and administrators with evidence-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and high schools and improving high school graduation rates. The practice guide cites Linked Learning as a strategy to prevent drop outs. The practice guide provides school and district administrators, as well as members of student-support teams including school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and teachers with the best available evidence and expertise on current challenges in education, and how the recommendations can be implemented in their schools and districts.
The responsibility to deliver college- and career-readiness education programs and services has evolved to include an array of organizational partnerships and alliances. Some act as intermediaries or hubs, aiming to coordinate communications, policy, and curriculum with state and local districts. Others seek to operate whole-school models within a school district. Linked Learning and NAF (formerly National Academy Foundation) are two such examples. Although each is unique, both exist with the explicit purpose of building long-term workforce opportunities by connecting education and industry.
This brief describes the successes and challenges school districts have experienced in fostering access and equity in Linked Learning pathways, examining five groups of students frequently underserved by traditional schools. Findings are drawn from an SRI Education evaluation in nine California school districts over seven years. The report also includes information on promising strategies enacted by the districts today.
SRI’s seventh annual evaluation report on the progress of the California Linked Learning District Initiative differs from previous evaluation reports in that it is designed to be comprehensive and summative, rather than focusing on new developments in the initiative or policy context. With 2013–14 marking the final year of funding for the initiative, this report provides updated findings on student engagement and achievement outcomes, including initial enrollment and persistence in postsecondary education. In addition, this report provides final lessons learned from the experiences of the initiative districts; their successes and challenges with Linked Learning systems implementation over the past 7 years; and their plans for expanding and sustaining Linked Learning while maintaining pathway quality and fidelity to the Linked Learning approach.
Full realization of the Linked Learning approach requires the support of a coherent set of school district human resource and student enrollment policies as well as infrastructure for work-based learning placements. Leaders in the nine demonstration districts identified the key district-specific implementation strategies below as crucial to establishing and sustaining Linked Learning.