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IES Grant

Title: P-TECH 9–14 Schools: An Impact, Implementation and Cost Study
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Byndloss, Crystal Awardee: MDRC
Program: Improving Education Systems      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (07/01/2017- 06/30/2022) Award Amount: $2,801,182
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A170250
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Rachel Rosen

Purpose: In this project, researchers will assess the implementation, impact and cost of the P-TECH 9-14 school model (P-TECH) in New York City (NYC). The evaluation will provide long-term evidence for P-TECH and policymakers about a model that has been rapidly expanded and scaled nationally. P-TECH is an approach to career and technical education that begins in high school and includes pathways to college and careers, employer and college partnerships, work-based learning, and opportunities to earn a high school diploma and an Associate in Applied Science or an Associate degree in a high-skills field awarded by the school's lead postsecondary partner. Upon graduation, students are first-in-line for an entry-level middle job with an industry partner. To date, more than 60 P-TECH schools have opened nationally, within just six years of the inaugural 9th grade class of the first P-TECH model school in NYC in 2011. Yet, despite all the momentum driving the expansion of P-TECH, as yet there has been no rigorous impact evaluation to demonstrate the true effects of the P-TECH model on student outcomes.

Project Activities: The researchers will conduct the first rigorous evaluation of the P-TECH 9-14 model. The study will estimate impacts for students enrolled in seven P-TECH schools under the purview of the NYC Department of Education. In addition, researchers will assess program implementation across these PTECH schools to determine the extent to which the model is being implemented with fidelity and to inform interpretation of impact findings. The researchers will also investigate what types of programs, supports, and practices students who did not attend a P-TECH school experience in the business as usual condition. The team will investigate each school's efforts to implement programming that supports the four core program components: a focus on early college, focus on career, focus on individual student pathways, and efforts to add extended learning time to the school schedule. This researchers will also include a cost-effectiveness study examining startup and ongoing costs of P-TECH schools.

Products: The products of this project include evidence of the impact of the P-TECH school model; information about its implementation and cost; a restricted access data file (that will be housed at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University); and peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Intervention: P-TECH is an approach to career and technical education that begins in high school and includes pathways to college and careers, employer and college partnerships, work-based learning, and opportunities to earn a high school diploma and an Associate in Applied Science or an Associate degree in a high-skills field awarded by the school's lead postsecondary partner.

Setting: This project will take place in New York City.

Sample: The sample for the impact study will consist of 3,800 treatment group students. The sample for the implementation work will consist of approximately 2,900 students and adults.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use an experimental design to study P-TECH schools within NYC, which are some of the only P-TECH schools to thus far have a long enough history serving students to be able to evaluate outcomes. In addition, because of the district-wide lottery-based high school choice process in NYC, the research team will be able to utilize the random lottery assignment process to identify two sets of comparable students: students who randomly won the opportunity to attend one of the seven NYC P-TECH schools, and students who were randomly placed elsewhere. This experimental analysis will be complemented by an in-depth, multi-year examination of program implementation in the NYC P-TECH schools. The researchers will also collect survey, interview, and focus group data from multiple informants including faculty and staff, students, and postsecondary and employer partners regarding the implementation of P-TECH.

Control Condition: The control condition is represented by the schools attended by lottery applicants who did not win admittance to a P-TECH school.

Key Measures: The research team will use the following measures to assess the P-TECH model's impact on student outcomes: 1) 9th grade on-track indicator; 2) number of core NY state regents exams passed; 3) scores on the English-Language Arts and Math Regents exams; 4) Attainment of a NY state high school diploma; and the following City University of New York (CUNY) or National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data: 5) college course enrollment and performance; 6) number of developmental education courses taken in college; 7) college major. Researchers will also be able to collect preliminary wage data for some cohorts of students who enroll at CUNY. For the implementation study, researchers will ask adults about the frequency and duration of activities offered as well as asking students about their participation in those activities, to capture the potential exposure students could have to the four core components as well as their reported actual exposure to the four core components of the model.

Data Analytic Strategy: Estimation strategies will include estimates of the effect of being offered the opportunity to enroll in P-TECH [intent-to-treat (ITT)] and estimates of the effect of enrolling in P-TECH [the local average treatment effect (LATE)]. From a policy perspective, the availability or offer of P-TECH schools is within the purview of policy-maker control, but enrollment and take-up are contingent on individual student selection. Thus the ITT estimate can lead us toward understanding the overall impact of P-TECH for the general population of students and student outcomes, while the LATE estimate provides us insight into the value of P-TECH for individual students. For the implementation study, the research team will import and code qualitative data in a software program, Dedoose, to identify differences in local context, program implementation and student experiences across the P-TECH schools.

P-TECH infographic: https://www.mdrc.org/publication/overview-nyc-p-tech-grades-9-14-model

Project video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzzkK95gkFw&feature=youtu.be

This project is a member of the CTE Research Network, R305N180005.


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