Resource Library

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.

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By combining academic and technical instruction, Linked Learning has proven to be a powerful approach to education—creating a relevant and engaging learning environment and, most importantly, preparing students with the range of 21st Century skills needed for success in college and career.

Despite the known benefits of Linked Learning, negative perceptions about career and technical education still exist. Shifting to this new paradigm requires more than redesigning school structures to incorporate Linked Learning pathways and legislating policies that provide needed resources. It also requires societal shifts in attitudes and beliefs.

This brief offers recommendations for classroom practices that will enable the effective integration of core academic and career technical subjects that can truly prepare students for college and career.

Research, Career-Technical Education, College & Career Readiness, Policy, Work-Based Learning

Developing principals’ knowledge and capacity to lead high-quality programs is critical to the long-term success of Linked Learning. However, it can be a challenge for district leaders to determine how to provide resources to support principal learning.

This brief identifies five lessons for district leaders that are drawn from a series of Linked Learning principal meetings that occurred within one district. The authors show how particular features of the meetings contributed to principals’ learning and afforded opportunities for the district to act strategically to better assist their principals.

This brief is part of SCOPE's Professional Learning for Linked Learning Series.

Research, Leadership Development, Lessons Learned

All Linked Learning pathway teachers need to understand the specific knowledge and skills students will need to perform industry-sector jobs. However, not all pathway teachers have this knowledge, nor do they always know how particular discipline content is used within an industry.

In the brief, "The District Office as a Site for Work-Based Learning," Ann Jaquith and Jamie Johnston describe an approach to teachers’ professional learning that can develop and/or enrich the distinctive aspects of Linked Learning pathways. Drawing from ongoing work in California’s Montebello Unified School District (MUSD), the authors show how district and school leaders can help core teachers better understand career-relevant knowledge and skills, and encourage CTE teachers to collaborate with their colleagues.

Research, Career-Technical Education, Lessons Learned, Work-Based Learning

The Graduate Profile

A District Strategy for the Coherent Alignment of Student Outcomes

This brief describes how a graduate profile can be utilized in Linked Learning pathways as a multi-faceted strategy for bringing coherence, clarity, and focus to practitioners and leaders at all levels of the system. Used strategically, the graduate profile can help in aligning school practices, district goals, state policies, and national standards.

Research, Lessons Learned

This report proposes effective approaches that policymakers and administrators can use to address these new questions and priorities. It also proposes ways that student accomplishments illustrating career readiness can be included in graduation standards and conveyed to prospective colleges and employers.

Research, Policy

Developing a Performance Assessment System From the Ground Up

Lessons Learned From Three Linked Learning Pathways

As the country shifts to higher standards of learning for students, the ways in which we measure learning are shifting too. Rather than relying on traditional high-stakes one-shot tests, new assessment approaches foster continuous learning, improvement, and subject mastery. A new study offers insights into how teachers can use these practices in their classrooms and schools using examples from several schools implementing the performance assessment approaches effectively.

Research, Lessons Learned, Rigorous Academics

Preparing 21st Century Citizens

The Role of Work-Based Learning in Linked Learning

The idea of linking hands-on learning with academics is not a new one. John Dewey advocated education through experience at the turn of the last century. Unfortunately, relatively few schools offer this integrated approach, typically limiting instruction to textbooks and lectures.

Yet, evidence suggests that students who engage in experiences that connect school learning to the real world are more likely to stay in school. Furthermore, such experiences increase the chances that students will be both college and career ready. Work-based learning (WBL) programs are an integral part of Linked Learning and help foster the goal of providing students with the skills they need to succeed in college and career.

This brief describes the successful elements of WBL programs and offers guidance for implementation.

Research, Lessons Learned, Work-Based Learning

Linked Learning in California

High School Transformation In Three Districts

This cross-case analysis draws upon case studies that examine how the California Linked Learning District Initiative (CLLDI) has played out in the Pasadena, Porterville, and Sacramento City Unified School Districts. It draws lessons from the experiences of leaders in these districts regarding the importance of reform coherence, distributed leadership, strategic planning and communication to the successful implementation of Linked Learning. Leaders in each district found in Linked Learning an answer to an important problem facing their district that also allowed them to bring greater coherence, relevance, and rigor to the daily work of both staff and students. The highly collaborative nature of Linked Learning required these districts to change and expand leadership responsibilities throughout the districts and the communities they serve. The degree of success of Linked Learning so far can be attributed in part to the ways in which leaders planned the introduction and expansion of the initiative. District leaders have identified clear, consistent, and constant communication about Linked Learning to be a critical component of their success to date.

Research, Leadership Development, Lessons Learned

Linked Learning in Sacramento

Organizing the District and Community for Sustainable Reform

This case study tells the story of how Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) has managed to integrate Linked Learning into its own district reform through staffing, reorganizing, and building capacity within the district. The study notes some early indicators of improvement including increases in API scores and decreases in dropout rates at some SCUSD high schools.

Research, Leadership Development, Lessons Learned

Linked Learning in Pasadena

Creating a Collaborative Culture for Sustainable District Reform

This is the story of how Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) is creating sustainable high school reform. PUSD, through a set of district leadership practices, thoughtfully built the capacity of and sense of ownership among essential stakeholders to design, implement, and support a system of Linked Learning pathways. Though firmly anchored by the visionary leadership of a superintendent, the PUSD Linked Learning story extends to school sites, civic and industry partners, and the broader community. This story also highlights the impact that a change in leadership can have on reform efforts, the ways that ownership of an initiative can be expanded to a wider pool of key stakeholders, and how those stakeholders can increase capacity to sustain the vision and implementation of reform beyond one leader.

Research, Leadership Development, Lessons Learned

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