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 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 fifth annual evaluation report on the progress of the California Linked Learning District Initiative offers updated findings on student engagement and achievement outcomes from the nine districts participating in the initiative. Additionally, for the first time, our report takes an in-depth look at the issue of student equity and access to pathways through an analysis of student enrollment patterns across pathway career themes and of pathway retention among student subgroup populations. Finally, it assesses pathway students’ experiences with academic and technical curriculum and work-based learning, their perceptions of the skills they are gaining as a result of their pathway experiences, and their plans for the future.
This brief is one in a series on the Linked Learning high school reform effort that focuses on preparing graduates for both college and career. This first brief will discuss achievement gaps and employment and economic trends that support the need for high schools that prepare all students for both career and college. The following briefs will be informed by interviews with members of governance teams from districts that are implementing the Linked Learning approach, and will explore how career and college preparation programs—including Regional Occupational Programs/Centers (ROP/C)—promote success for underserved and underperforming students.
The study, conducted over two years, highlights the connection between quality implementation of Linked Learning and equity and college and career access. The key findings in this report reinforce the need for consistency in the non-negotiable elements of Linked Learning as districts strive to take this approach to scale.
To meet California’s demand for a more educated workforce, high schools must dramatically increase the number of students who graduate and graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college and career. Yet disturbingly, few students graduate with the college-ready coursework needed to access our state’s public university system. This is especially true for low-income students and students of color, who are also disproportionately tracked into less rigorous “career education” courses. This report highlights these troubling trends and calls for a more integrated and equitable approach to college and career preparation—so that high school serves to open doors to both college and career options for all students.
This article was published in 2012 in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, after the findings were released to the general public on December 12, 2011. The article asserts the importance of ultimately dismantling dichotomous notions of ‘‘career’’ and ‘‘college’’ preparation, to expand opportunities for underserved students, and reduce inequities by preparing all students for both college and career.