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IES Grant

Title: Mapping Workforce Certificate and Degree Pathways in Ohio: Are Postsecondary Training Opportunities Setting Students Up for Success?
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Daugherty, Lindsay Awardee: RAND Corporation
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/01/2019 - 06/30/2021) Award Amount: $399,853
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H190033

Co-Principal Investigators: Bozick, Robert; Rice, Cheryl; Visger, Brett

Partner Institutions: RAND Corporation and Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).

Purpose:This project seeks to improve student progression through stackable credential pathways –sequences of aligned credentials that connect from short-term certificates to a bachelor's degree and beyond in a chosen field. The partnership team will identify patterns of student participation in and progress through stackable credential pathways in health, manufacturing, and information technology. From this basis, the team will develop an agenda for research and improvements to policy and practice that support students' attainment of sub-baccalaureate credentials. In addition, the team will develop resources to assist policymakers and administrators in Ohio as well as other states implementing career pathways.

Partnership Activities: The team will build a logic model for the state's stackable certificate programs, including its objectives and metrics aligned to them. Next, they will construct a quantitative database and conduct descriptive analyses of student progress within the pathways. Based on this first-look analysis, the team will develop a qualitative research agenda with specific research questions. Then, they will conduct additional exploratory analyses to assess promising practices at the college level.

Setting: The research will take place at four-year public universities, community colleges, technical colleges, and career and technical centers located across Ohio.

Population/Sample:The sample will include all traditional-age and older students who entered public postsecondary institutions in Ohio between 2005 and 2017 within three fields of study: health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology.

Data Analytic Strategy: Descriptive analysis will compare sums and percentages of students' participation and progress through the pathways over time, across regions, and across institutions. Quasi-experimental difference-in-differences models will exploit differences in timing of program implementation to identify relationships between stackable programs and student outcomes. The team will use grounded-theory analysis methods to code the qualitative interview data.

Outcomes: The team will build knowledge among policymakers and administrators in Ohio on the functioning of stackable credential programs within the three targeted fields of study and will make preliminary recommendations for improving programs where rates of student progress are low. The team will develop a research agenda to generate more definitive conclusions about the types of policies and practices that promote postsecondary success for students in stackable credential pathways.