Taking Stock of the Linked Learning District Initiative: Sixth Year Evaluation Report

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Warner, M., Caspary, K., Arshan, N., Stites, R., Padilla, C., Park, C., Patel, D., Wolf, B., Astudillo, S., Harless, E., Ammah-Tagoe, N., McCracken, M. & Adelman, N. SRI International. (2015). Taking stock of the California Linked Learning District Initiative. Sixth-year evaluation report. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.


This report from SRI International’s multiyear evaluation of the California’s Linked Learning District Initiative is the first to include end-of-high school outcomes for students in Linked Learning pathways, and confirms many of the promising findings from previous years. Compared with similar peers in traditional high school programs, students participating in certified Linked Learning pathways are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to drop out, and earn, on average, more credits. In addition, certified pathways are doing just as well as traditional high school programs at helping students complete the a–g requirements even as they retain more students who might otherwise have dropped out and are unlikely to pursue the full college preparatory curriculum. Certified pathway students also have better college readiness outcomes than similar students in traditional high school programs. These promising graduation and college readiness findings hold for students coming into Linked Learning with low prior achievement levels.

These positive outcomes for certified pathway students, however, do not accrue to students in non-certified pathways. Certification indicates that pathways have implemented certain structures such as integration of career technical education course sequences and work-based learning experiences into students’ program of study. The lack of positive findings for non-certified pathways suggest that it is critical for these structures to be in place to produce positive effects on student outcomes. These results, as well as more detail about the sustainability of the initiative, pathway quality and fidelity, and student access and equity to pathways are available in the sixth-year evaluation report.

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