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 study offers strong evidence that rigorous academics integrated with technical curriculum leads to higher test scores if successfully implemented. In this research, career and technical education (CTE) teachers were paired with math teachers who identified the mathematical content embedded in the CTE teachers’ subjects and developed lesson plans to teach the math within the occupational context. The 57 CTE teachers who helped develop the math–enhanced lessons were randomly assigned to classrooms and delivered the curriculum for about 10 percent of class time over the course of one year; 74 CTE teachers not participating in such development taught other classrooms with traditional instruction. The almost 3,000 enrolled students were given math pre-tests and were tested again a year later. Those taught the integrated curriculum significantly outscored the control group on two tests of math ability.
This report shows that schools utilizing a Linked Learning approach have achieved higher graduation rates and exit exam passing rates, with a greater percentage of students eligible for California State University (CSU) or the University of California (UC). Researchers found that 50 percent of students in California Partnership Academies completed the “A–G” requirements needed to be eligible for admission to California’s public universities – compared with only 39 percent of graduates statewide. More than 70 percent of the academies’ African-American students passed the math portion of the California High School Exit Exam, compared with 55 percent of African-American high school students in the state. Furthermore, 96 percent of academy seniors graduated, compared with 87 percent statewide.
This study describes three key pieces of evidence supporting adoption of the Linked Learning approach. Those attending California Partnership Academies had better California High School Exit Exam pass rates, completed more rigorous courses, and had better high school graduation rates. Operating in more than 300 high schools, California Partnership Academies are one model of Linked Learning pathways.
Rigorous academics integrated with career-based learning can lead to higher wages after high school. This study examines the outcomes of 1,700 students enrolled in career academies that offered the Linked Learning approach to predominantly minority students. The study showed that four years after graduation from high school, career academy graduates were earning more than their traditionally educated counterparts. While this was true for both men and women, the result was statistically significant for men in a Linked Learning pathway, who earned 18 percent ($10,000) more over the four-year period after high school.
The findings demonstrate the feasibility of improving labor market preparation and successful school-to-work transitions without compromising academic goals and preparation for college. Investments in career-related experiences during high school can produce substantial and sustained improvements in the labor market prospects and transitions to adulthood of youth. In fact, Career Academies are one of the few youth-focused interventions that have been found to improve the labor market prospects of young men. At the same time, Career Academies have proven to be challenging to implement on a large scale with high levels of fidelity, and the evidence from this evaluation may not apply to programs that are partially implemented or that use only selected features of the Academy approach. Further research should be conducted to determine the effects of key Academy components.
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.
This report highlights positive results at California Partnership Academies (CPAs). Many of these CPAs are also part of Linked Learning.
This report on the California Partnership Academies (CPAs) reveals very promising results for student performance across a range of important outcomes: most notably graduation rates for seniors, and completion of the “A-G” courses required for admission to the University of California and California State University. It is significant to note that these results have been achieved despite the fact that 50 percent of CPA students enter the program as “at-risk students” based on strict criteria. The new findings confirm the pattern found in a similar report on the CPAs using data from 2004-05, but with substantially larger numbers of academies and students.
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.
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.