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IES Grant

Title: Paths 2 the Future: Testing the Efficacy of a Career Development Intervention for High School Girls with Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Lindstrom, Lauren Awardee: University of California, Davis
Program: Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2015-6/30/2019) Award Amount: $3,499,674
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A170148
Description:

Previous Award Number: R324A150046
Previous Institution: University of Oregon

Co-Principal Investigators: Atika Khurana and Leslie Leve

Purpose: The purpose of this efficacy project is to determine whether the Paths 2 the Future (P2F) curriculum intervention produces a beneficial effect on education and career outcomes for high school girls with high-incidence disabilities. P2F is a fully developed, gender-specific career development intervention that was developed and pilot tested through previous IES funding. High school girls with disabilities face unique challenges in gaining employment, accessing postsecondary education, living independently, and fully participating in their communities. More research-based interventions are needed to address these barriers and improve post-school outcomes for this population.

Project Activities: This project will use a cluster randomized controlled trial to examine the efficacy of P2F. Data will be collected at three time points (before, immediately after, and 6 months after the intervention). Analyses will examine the effects of the P2F intervention on the education and career outcomes of participating high school girls with high-incidence disabilities, as well as potential mediating and moderating effects.

Products: Products will include evidence of the efficacy of the P2F curriculum in increasing career knowledge and skills (e.g., self-determination, disability knowledge, gender awareness, career and college readiness) and engagement in career-related activities (e.g., enrollment in career technical education, work experience, and paid employment). There will also be peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research study will take place in high schools in Oregon.

Sample: The sample will include 480 high school girls with high-incidence disabilities (e.g., learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, emotional disabilities, speech/language impairment) in Grades 9–12 within 24 schools.

Intervention: Paths 2 the Future is a gender-specific career development intervention that was previously developed and pilot tested through this research team. This classroom-based intervention is designed to be conducted in large-group settings in 50-minute class periods over an 18-week semester. The intervention includes professional development materials, teacher manuals/lesson plans, and student workbooks covering four modules: self-determination, disability knowledge, gender awareness, and career and college readiness.

Research Design and Methods: This study will use a cluster randomized controlled trial, across three cohorts, to determine the efficacy of the P2F intervention on career and education outcomes for high school girls with high-incidence disabilities. All participants will be assessed at baseline, following completion of the intervention, and at a 6-month follow up. Data will be analyzed to determine changes in career knowledge and skills (including self-determination, disability knowledge, gender awareness, and career and college readiness) and patterns of engagement in career related activities (including career–technical education, work experience, or paid employment). Fidelity of implementation for intervention and comparison conditions and social validity of the curriculum will also be examined.

Control Condition: Students in the control group will receive business-as-usual transition services within their high schools.

Key Measures: A set of measures will be used to track changes in career knowledge and skills (proximal outcomes) aligned with the four P2F curriculum modules. These measures include the following: Arcs' Self-Determination Scale, autonomy and self-realization scales; College and Students with Disabilities Campus Climate (CSDCC) survey, self-advocacy subscale; Vocational Skills Self-Efficacy scale; Career Outcome Expectancy scale; and Transition Assessment Goal Generator (TAGG). In addition, engagement in career-related activities such as career–technical education, work experience, and paid employment (distal outcomes) will be assessed through a researcher-designed measure. Fidelity will be assessed through onsite observations for both intervention and control schools, and social validity data will be collected though focus groups to identify the organizational supports and procedures needed for sufficient implementation of the core components of the intervention.

Data Analytic Strategy: For the majority of analyses, standard normal theory multilevel regression and multilevel structural equation modeling (SEM) path analytic techniques will be employed, and the nested structure of students within schools will be addressed. To capitalize on the within-subject repeated measures design, intent to treat (ITT) analyses within hierarchical linear growth models will be conducted. Additional analyses include mediation analyses and tests of indirect effects, as well as exploratory analyses examining potential moderating effects of the P2F intervention on proximal and distal outcomes. To examine effects of implementation fidelity, a within-group analysis of the intervention condition will be conducted.

Related IES Projects: Project: PATHS (Postschool Achievement Through Higher Skills) (R324B070038)


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