Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

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: Efficacy Award Number: R305L170012

Co-Principal Investigator: Fish, Susan

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

Purpose: A previous IES-funded project (R305H140108) found that Oregon's Adult Basic Skills (ABS) programs, run by community colleges, could better support students' GEDŽ completion and transition to postsecondary programs. In response, Oregon created the ABS Transition Planning Process (TPP). Through this project, Oregon sought to evaluate the efficacy of the use of the TTP to determine its impact and whether it should be continued. TPP is a text-messaging supplement to ABS advising activities designed to help students complete their GEDŽ credential and enroll in postsecondary courses that will lead to a postsecondary credential. TPP facilitators supported students through the use of individualized and customized text messages as they participated in ABS programs. The TPP was implemented using funds provided under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Project Activities: Researchers evaluated the impacts of the TPP program through a randomized controlled trial in which students enrolled in ABS programs at community colleges were randomly assigned to receive either the support of ABS advising staff (the control group) or the support of ABS advising staff who also used text messaging (TPP facilitators) to enhance their advising activities (the treatment group). Researchers compared treatment and control student success in GEDŽ test taking, earning a GEDŽ credential, and enrollment in a postsecondary course.

Key Outcomes: Key outcomes will be shared once publications are available.


Setting: The project took place in Oregon.

Sample: The sample was drawn from adult learners at the adult secondary education (ASE) level who enrolled in ABS programs located at one of Oregon's 17 community colleges. Six programs were selected from those volunteering to take part in the study. Of these, three were large programs, two medium, and one small. Eligible students were identified in the spring and fall quarters of the 2017-18 academic year and in the winter quarter of the 2018-2019 academic year. Eligibility criteria included scoring at the sixth-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) was a text-messaging enhancement to the activities provided by ABS advisors. ABS advisors’ main responsibility was to provide guidance, information, and other supports to ABS learners who were preparing to take the GEDŽ subject tests. Through the TPP study, ABS programs expanded ABS advisors’ (referred to as TPP facilitators) activities to include a text messaging component for learners in the study’s treatment group to further motivate ABS learners to pursue the GEDŽ and enroll in postsecondary education. TPP facilitators were provided with a list of text messages that addressed program attendance, learner goal setting, GEDŽ test participation, and postsecondary enrollment, but had flexibility in customizing their text messages to learners’ specific situations. The TPP facilitators provided advice, coaching, and information through face-to-face and bimonthly text and email contacts with adult learners in ABS courses. The TPP facilitators supported adult learners through four steps for completing a GEDŽ and six steps for enrolling in postsecondary courses. Each step had 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 carried out the support for each step.

Research Design and Methods: A randomized controlled trial was used. During enrollment for the spring and fall quarters of the 2017-18 academic year and the winter quarter of the 2018- 2019 academic year, students entering ABS programs at the six selected ABS programs in five community colleges took the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) reading and math tests and completed the intake forms. The researchers randomly assigned 244 eligible students to the TPP or to a business-as-usual control group. The student outcome measures were gathered over multiple quarters (including the intervention quarter) for each of the three cohorts through the 2020-2021 academic year.

Control Condition: Control students attended the same ABS programs as treatment students and received the same access to ABS advising staff but did not have access to the text messages sent by TPP facilitators.

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

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team carried out an intent-to-treat analysis using linear or logistic probability models, depending on the outcome measure, to examine success or failure in GEDŽ test taking, earning a GEDŽ 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 was conducted to explore outcomes in case a significant proportion of learners did 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)


ERIC Citations:  Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Publicly Available Data: NA.

Project Website: NA.

Additional online resources and information: NA.

Select Publications:

Inside IES Research Blog

Larson, M. (2018). Evaluating Oregon’s Adult Basic Skills Transition Planning Process: An Interview with Judith Alamprese.