New Findings Highlight Linked Learning Progress
Linked Learning in Motion
For the past five years, SRI International has been conducting an independent evaluation of the Linked Learning District Initiative. Today, we’re pleased to announce the release of new findings drawn from all nine participating districts. We are particularly pleased that the findings indicate that Linked Learning contributes to student engagement and success in school.
At Irvine, we’ve had the chance to reflect on these findings, and we draw five headlines from this evaluation, which focuses on certified Linked Learning pathways:
- Linked Learning students report greater confidence in life and career skills than their peers. These skills are essential to success in any postsecondary endeavor, and are integral to the Common Core State Standards.
- Linked Learning students are staying in their districts through high school—an indication that they are less likely to drop out before graduation because they see the value of the Linked Learning approach. On average, students enrolled in certified pathways were 5.2 percentage points more likely to remain in their district through 12th grade compared with similar peers in traditional high school programs.
- Linked Learning students are accumulating more credits, which is critical for on-time graduation. On the whole, students in certified pathways are accumulating more credits in the 9th through 11th grades than similar peers in traditional high school programs. Plus, they are more likely than similar peers to be on track at the end of 10th grade to complete the suggested a–g requirements necessary for enrollment in a four-year public university in California.
- There are positive academic outcomes for Linked Learning students who enter high school with low achievement scores. Linked Learning students with low achievement in 8th grade outscored similar peers on key state assessments in 9th and 10th grade. They also earn more credits in the 9th and 10th grades than similar peers, indicating that Linked Learning works for these youth.
- We see continued evidence of progress in expanding and strengthening pathway implementation. Some districts are approaching a critical mass of schools and students participating in Linked Learning. District leaders remain committed to Linked Learning as their primary education reform approach; districts are pursuing a range of funding sources to support Linked Learning and are engaging in regional partnerships with businesses and community colleges.
These findings arrive at an exciting and important time for Linked Learning. The California Linked Learning Pilot Program and California Career Pathways Trust are going to scale, and Linked Learning holds broad interest in communities and school districts statewide — including Oakland, where Measure N passed with overwhelming support to raise funds for expanding Linked Learning throughout the district. There is clear momentum and financial incentive for players to adopt this approach.
This holds promise for the future of Linked Learning as the means to achieve equitable high school reform across the state. It also leads to a collective need for all districts and schools pursuing Linked Learning to embrace its full rigor. Which leads us at Irvine to a sixth takeaway:
- Positive student outcomes are associated most strongly with certified pathways. Compared with similar peers at traditional high schools, certified pathway students demonstrated more positive outcomes than students enrolled in non-certified pathways.
Linked Learning success factors and new fifth-year evaluation findings are outlined in an executive summary and full report by SRI International. Our interactive Linked Learning in Motion infographic has been newly updated to include the latest data, as well as continued progress in the Linked Learning field. Also available are new tools from the Linked Learning Alliance that can be used by anyone working to advance this approach in California.
We thank you for your interest in this work and welcome your comments and feedback.
By Anne Stanton
Former Program Director, Youth
View more posts by Anne Stanton
Dec 09, 2014