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IES Grant

Title: Paths to the Future for Young Men
Center: NCSER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Lind, John Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (09/01/2019–08/31/2023) Award Amount: $1,378,477
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A190104

Co-Principal Investigator: Gau, Jeff

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop Paths to the Future for Young Men (P2F-Young Men), a career development intervention to address the needs of adolescent boys with high-incidence disabilities.Adolescent males lag behind their female peers on a number of important academic and behavioral outcomes such as rates of high school graduation and college enrollment, and have greater risk for violence, suicide, and substance abuse. Males with disabilities also receive less support outside their families, are less likely to attend college, and have poorer social outcomes. Paths 2 the Future (P2F) is a gender-specific career development curriculum that was developed, pilot tested, and showed preliminary evidence of efficacy for high school girls with disabilities. This research team will modify P2F through an iterative process to meet the needs of adolescent boys with high-incidence disabilities and pilot test the program on a variety of student transition knowledge and skills, career goals, and educational outcomes.

Project Activities: This project will use an iterative process to develop the P2F-Young Men curriculum. Phase I includes a series of activities designed to gather additional information needed to ensure the adapted curriculum will meet the transition needs of adolescent boys with disabilities. This phase includes a literature review; student, parent, and teachers focus groups; expert teacher review of revised materials; and feasibility and usability testing through a design experiment. A design team comprised of key researchers and practice stakeholders will provide feedback throughout Phase 1 of this project. Phase II will be pilot testing P2F-Young Men through a randomized controlled trial.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed P2F-Young Men curriculum for high school boys with high-incidence disabilities and evidence of its promise for improving student transition knowledge and skills, career goals, and educational outcomes. The project will result in peer-reviewed presentations and publications as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This research will take place in high schools in Oregon.

Sample: Development activities will be conducted by a design team representing a partnership between project staff and teachers, parents, students, and experts in career development and transition services. A total of 96 high school boys and young adults with disabilities, and parents of boys with disabilities, will participate in focus groups. Four teachers will participate in the design experiment. The pilot study will include 6 teachers and 150 boys with high-incidence disabilities (such as learning disabilities, emotional/behavior disabilities, speech language disorders, and ADHD) in grades 9 through 12.

Intervention: P2F-Young Men is a college and career readiness curriculum designed to be taught by school personnel familiar with career development and transition (such as a special education teacher or transition specialist) in a group/classroom setting during 50-minute class periods over an 18-week semester. The curriculum includes some of the modules that are in the original P2F curriculum, with additional modules added to address male gender role awareness and enhancing male coping skills. The modules include a) self-awareness, b) disability awareness, c) male gender role awareness, and d) career and college readiness. The final version of the P2F-Young Men intervention will include curriculum materials and lesson plans, student workbooks, teacher training materials, and a fully developed set of measures.

Research Design and Methods: This project will be conducted in two phases. For Phase I, a design team comprised of key researchers and practitioner stakeholders will be established to provide ongoing review and feedback of the curriculum materials during the iterative development process. Activities in this phase include (a) a literature review on the topics of masculinity, coping, employment, and post-school outcomes for males with disabilities to refine the scope and sequence of the curriculum; (b) focus groups with high school boys and young adults with disabilities and their parents to identify facilitators and barriers to successful transition outcomes for boys and to provide feedback on the curriculum; (d) expert appraisal where teachers “walk through” lessons, activities, and protocols, and provide feedback regarding clarity, usability and feasibility; and (e) feasibility and usability testing through a design experiment (‘try out” of the curriculum by end users who provide feedback). After each activity in this phase, data is collected, analyzed, and reviewed by the design team to inform revisions to the intervention. In Phase II, a randomized controlled trial pilot study, in which students will be randomly assigned to the P2F-Young Men or control condition, will be used to determine the promise of the refined P2F-Young Men curriculum for improving student career goals and educational outcomes. The research team will also calculate the costs of the intervention.

Control Condition: For the pilot study, students in the control group will receive services as usual.

Key Measures: Student self-awareness and self-determination will be assessed with the Arc's Self-Determination Scale and the AIR Self-Determination Scale. The College Students with Disabilities Campus Climate Survey and a researcher-developed curriculum-based measure will be used to measure disability awareness and disability advocacy in educational environments. Four scales will be used to measure awareness and impact of gender-related work or educational barriers including Perceptions of Barriers Scale, Coping with Barriers Scale, Gender Role Conflict Scale, and the Brief COPE. Career and college readiness will be measured with the Career Outcome Expectancy Scale and the Vocational Skills Self-Efficacy Measure. School Archival Records Search will be used to gather data ongrade point average, attendance, and whether students are on-track for graduation. The School Engagement Instrument will be used to measure student psychological and cognitive engagement, and the Social Behavior Social Skills Improvement System will assess student social skills, problem behavior, and academic competence. Several measures will be used to assess implementation fidelity, including a review of permanent records, self-reports of implementation, and direct observation checklists. Consumer satisfaction surveys will also be conducted with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators.

Data Analytic Strategy: During the initial iterative development process, a variety of qualitative and descriptive quantitative analyses will be used to summarize feedback from participants. Data from the Year 1 focus groups will be categorized, coded, and used to identify themes related to the intervention's acceptability, feasibility, and clarity. During the design experiment, one-way repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) will be used to compare pre- and post-test differences on outcome measures. To estimate the intent-to-treat effects of P2FYoung Men on student outcomes in the pilot study, ANCOVAs will be used for continuous scores (e.g., self-awareness scores) and Poisson regression models will be used for count outcome measures (e.g., number of absences). The costs of P2F-Young Men will be calculated using the ingredients method.

Related IES Projects: Paths 2 the Future: Testing the Efficacy of a Career Development Intervention for High School Girls with Disabilities (R324A150046)