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IES Grant

Title: Study of Effects of Transition Planning Process (TPP) on Adult Basic Skills Learners' GED® Attainment and Enrollment in Postsecondary Education
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Alamprese, Judith Awardee: Abt Associates, Inc.
Program: Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (7/1/2017-6/30/2019) Award Amount: $249,039
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R305L170012

Co-Principal Investigator:  Susan Fish (Oregon Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development)

Partners: Abt Associates andOregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development

Purpose:  A previous Researcher-Practitioner Partnership project (R305H140108) found that Oregon's Adult Basic Skills (ABS) programs, run by community colleges, could better support students' GED® completion and transition to postsecondary programs. In response, Oregon created the ABS Transition Planning Process (TPP). TPP is a step-by-step program designed to help students complete their GED® credential and enroll in postsecondary courses that will lead to a postsecondary credential. TPP facilitators support students as they complete each step. The TPP program is being implemented using funds provided under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIAO). Oregon intends to evaluate the efficacy of the TPP to determine its impact and whether it needs revising.

Project Activities:  Researchers will evaluate the impacts of the TPP program through a randomized controlled trial in which students enrolled in ABS programs at community colleges will be randomly assigned to receive either the support of ABS program staff (the control group) or the support of ABS program staff plus the additional support of TPP facilitators (the treatment group). Researchers will compare treatment and control student success in GED® test taking, earning a GED® credential, and enrollment in a postsecondary course.

Products: The project will provide evidence of the efficacy of the TPP program for students enrolled in ABS programs at community colleges. A briefing on the results is to be held at the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The findings will also be provided to other practitioners and researchers through a publicly available free written brief made available online, and through presentations and publications for both practitioner and academic professional organizations and journals.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The project will take place in Oregon.

Population/Sample: The sample will be drawn from adult learners at the Adult Secondary Education (ASE) Level who enroll in ABS programs located at one of Oregon's 17 community colleges. Six programs will be selected from those volunteering to take part in the study (of these, three are to be large programs, two medium, and one small). Eligible students will be identified in the fall or winter quarter of 2017-18 academic year. Eligibility criteria include scoring at the 6th grade level or higher in reading or math and lacking a high school diploma or equivalent time of enrollment.

Intervention: The Oregon ABS Transition Planning Process (TPP) provides advice, coaching, and information from a Transition Facilitator through face-to-face and bimonthly text and email contacts with adult learners in ABS courses. The TPP supports adult learners through four steps for completing a GED® and six steps for enrolling in postsecondary courses. Each step has associated materials, a timeline, and text messages to be sent by the facilitator to the student to offer advice and encourage students to complete the step. In addition, the TPP contains a checklist and documentation of support that are used to track whether the facilitator carries out the support for each step.

Research Design and Methods: A randomizedcontrolled trial will be used. During enrollment for the fall and winter quarters of the 2017-18 academic year, students entering ABS programs at the six selected community colleges will take the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) reading and math tests and complete the intake forms. Eligible students (about 1,500 expected) will be randomly assigned to the TPP or to a business-as-usual control group. The student outcome measures will be gathered over four quarters (including the intervention quarter) for each of the two cohorts.

Control Condition:  Control students will attend the same ABS programs as treatment students and have the same access to ABS program staff, but will not have access to the TPP facilitators.

Key Measures: The key outcome measures are GED ®test taking, GED® attainment, and enrollment in postsecondary courses. Baseline measures used to identify subgroups include math and reading levels derived from the CASAS reading and math tests, and goals of learners (e.g., GED ®attainment, entering college, or training). Fidelity of implementation measures include the number of the steps implemented by the TPP facilitators and the type of text messages sent.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will carry out an intent-to-treat analysis using a linear probability model to examine success or failure in GED® test taking, earning a GED® credential, and enrollment in a postsecondary course for the full sample and for particular subgroups of interest to the partners. A treatment-on-the-treated analysis will also be conducted if a significant proportion of learners do not take up the treatment.

Related IES Projects: Study of Effects of Accelerated Basic Skills Instruction on Adults' GED Attainment and Enrollment in Postsecondary Education (R305H140108)