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REL Midwest Ask A REL Response

College and Career Readiness

June 2017

Question:

1. What does the research say about the relationship between student goal setting in grades 6-12 related to academic and career planning and academic and deeper learning outcomes?

2. What does the research say about the relationship between providing personalized college and career advising and coaching to students in grades 6-12 and academic and deeper learning outcomes?

3. What does the research say about the relationship between student (K-12) participation in collaborative learning activities and academic and deeper learning outcomes?



Response:

Following an established Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for literature reviews, meta-analyses, experimental or quasi-experimental studies on the relationship between (1) student goal setting, (2) personalized college and career advising, and (3) collaborative learning and academic and deeper learning outcomes. For details on the databases and sources, key words and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. We have not evaluated the quality of references and resources provided in this response, but offer this list to you for your information only.

Research References

1. What does the research say about the relationship between student goal setting in grades 6-12 related to academic and career planning and academic and deeper learning outcomes?

Estrada, B., & Warren, S. (2014). Increasing the writing performance of urban seniors placed at-risk through goal-setting in a culturally responsive and creativity-centered classroom. Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching and Research, 10, 50-63. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1044204

From the abstract: "Efforts to support marginalized students require not only identifying systemic inequities, but providing a classroom infrastructure that supports the academic achievement of all students. This action research study examined the effects of implementing goal-setting strategies and emphasizing creativity in a culturally responsive classroom (CRC) on urban students placed at-risk of failure in a 12th grade writing classroom. Qualitative and quantitative data include pre- and post-surveys, student writing assignments, grades, pre- and post-focus groups, and teacher-researcher observations. Data indicate writing goals, creativity, and a CRC positively improved the independent writing performance of students and developed their confidence in and value for the writing process. This study will assist educators as they design learning environments and utilize strategies to teach writing to marginalized students."

Moeller, A. J., Theiler, J. M., & Wu, C. (2012). Goal setting and student achievement: A longitudinal study. Modern Language Journal, 96(2), 153-169. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ975683

From the abstract: "The connection between goals and student motivation has been widely investigated in the research literature, but the relationship of goal setting and student achievement at the classroom level has remained largely unexplored. This article reports the findings of a 5-year quasi-experimental study examining goal setting and student achievement in the high school Spanish language classroom. The implementation of LinguaFolio, a portfolio that focuses on student self-assessment, goal setting, and collection of evidence of language achievement, was introduced into 23 high schools with a total of 1,273 students. By using a hierarchical linear model, researchers were able to analyze the relationship between goal setting and student achievement across time at both the individual student and teacher levels. A correlational analysis of the goal-setting process and language proficiency scores reveals a statistically significant relationship between the goal-setting process and language achievement (p less than 0.01). (Contains 5 tables.)."

2. What does the research say about the relationship between providing personalized college and career advising and coaching to students in grades 6-12 and academic and deeper learning outcomes?

Belasco, A. S. (2013). Creating college opportunity: School counselors and their influence on postsecondary enrollment. Research in Higher Education, 54(7), 781–804. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1039149

From the abstract: "School counselors are the primary facilitators of college transition for many students, yet little is known about their influence on college-going behavior. Analyzing data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, this study employs coarsened exact matching and multilevel modeling to examine the effects of student-counselor visits on postsecondary enrollment, as well as determine whether the effects of such visits vary by socioeconomic background. Results suggest that visiting a counselor for college entrance information has a positive and significant influence on students’ likelihood of postsecondary enrollment, and that counseling-related effects are greatest for students with low socioeconomic status."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Carrell, S. E., & Sacerdote, B. (2013). Late interventions matter too: The case of college coaching. NBER Working Paper No. 19031. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

From the abstract: "We present evidence from an ongoing field experiment in college coaching/ mentoring. The experiment is designed to ask whether coaching plus cash incentives provided to high school students late in their senior year have meaningful impacts on college going and persistence. For women and recent immigrants (male or female), we find large impacts on the decision to enroll in college and to remain in college. Intention to treat estimates are an increase in 12 percentage points in the college going rate (against a base rate of 50 percent) while treatment on the treated estimates are 24 percentage points. Offering cash bonuses alone without mentoring has no effect.

There are no effects for non-immigrant men in the sample. The absence of effects for men is not explained by an interaction of the program with academic ability, work habits, or family and guidance support for college applications. However, differential returns to college can explain some or even all of the differences in treatment effects for men and women."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Domina, T., & Woods, C. (2014). The school counselor caseload and the high school-to-college pipeline. Teachers College Record, 116(10), 1-30. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1033545

From the abstract: "Background: Advising students on the transition from high school to college is a central part of school counselors' professional responsibility. The American School Counselor Association recommends a school counselor caseload of 250 students; however, prior work yields inconclusive evidence on the relationship between school counseling and school-level counseling resources and students' college trajectories. Focus of Study: This study evaluates the relationship between access to school counselors and several critical indicators of student transitions between high school and college. Research Design: The study utilizes the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to explore the relationships between the school counselor caseload and students’ progress throughout the high school-to-college pipeline. The key indicator is the counselor caseload for students at a given high school, measured as the number of 10th graders per counselor at the high school at which each student is enrolled. The outcome variables are students' college expectations, whether students spoke with a counselor about college, taking the SAT, and college enrollment. Logistic and multinomial logistic regression analyses are applied to examine the relationships between these variables. Findings: Students in schools with small counselor caseloads enjoy greater success at navigating the high school-to-college pipeline. Controlling for student- and school-level characteristics, students in schools where counselors are responsible for advising a large number of students are less likely to speak with a counselor about college, plan to attend college, take the SAT, and enroll in a 4-year college. Conclusions: The findings support the claim that a smaller school counselor caseload may increase students' access to key college preparation resources and raise 4-year college enrollment rates."

Note: REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible. Although we were unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this article, we determined that it might be of interest to you. The resource may be available through university or public library systems.

Fitzpatrick, D., & Schneider, B. (2016). Linking counselor activities and students' college readiness: How they matter for disadvantaged students. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED567227

From the abstract: "Prior research has shown that having more high school counselors and students meeting with counselors can help increase rates at which students enroll and succeed in postsecondary education (Belasco 2013; Domina & Woods 2014). A second set of research has shown that specific forms of college readiness, including college eligibility such as advanced mathematical course-taking (Byun, Irvin & Bell 2014; Gamoran & Hannigan 2000; Gaertner, Kim, DesJardins, & McClarty 2014; Muller, Riegle-Crumb, Schiller, Wilkinson, & Frank 2010; Zelkowski 2011) and college knowledge such as completing the FAFSA (Belasco & Trivette 2015; Hoxby & Turner 2013; Stephan & Rosenbaum 2013) are linked with better postsecondary outcomes. However, most of the evidence that links the work of counselors to these readiness outcomes is limited and often based on small purposive samples. We bridge that gap by linking specific activities by high school counselors to specific demonstrations of college readiness by students in national longitudinal data, and then assessing if that link differs for disadvantaged students.

We frame disparities in students' information about the transition to tertiary education as an issue of social capital. At its core, social capital is the idea that a person benefits from the knowledge, norms, and resources held by their community, family, and social contacts (Bourdieu 1987; Coleman 1988; Portes 1998). Parents with stronger social networks can provide more resources to their children and link their children to yet other resources; as a result, social capital often enhances the ability of individuals to improve their knowledge and, subsequently, long-term status (Lin 1999; Waithaka 2014). There is a large gap in the knowledge regarding the college application process in the social networks of-in the social capital available to-lower income students. Lower-SES students' lack of knowledge can impede them from attending college even when they aspire and intend to enroll (Goldrick-Rab & Pfeffer 2009; Roderick, Nagaoka, & Coca 2009). Prior research indicates that counselors can be an important factor in compensating for low-SES students' low social capital around college readiness (Cabrera & La Nasa 2001, Castleman & Goodman 2014). A critical premise of this study is that specific counseling activities related to college preparation can contribute to low-SES students preparing better for college and demonstrating greater college readiness than they would if they relied only on their out-of-school social capital."

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse.(2013). What Works Clearinghouse Quick Review: "Late interventions matter too: The case of college coaching in New Hampshire." Princeton, NJ: Author. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED539897

From the abstract: "'Late Interventions Matter Too-The Case of College Coaching in New Hampshire' examined whether providing college application coaching to high school seniors increased postsecondary enrollment. The program was aimed at students who were considering applying to college but who had made little or no progress in the application process, and who had a tenth grade test score high enough to warrant applying to college. Study authors randomly assigned approximately 950 students from 12 New Hampshire high schools to receive the coaching program or be in the control group. The coaching program was implemented by volunteer college students, and provided in-person assistance with completing college application and financial aid forms, money to cover application fees, and a $100 cash incentive to participants for completing the college application process. Overall, students receiving the intervention had postsecondary enrollment rates that were four percentage points higher than students in the control group (43% versus 39%), but this difference was not statistically significant. However, study authors reported a statistically significant interaction between student gender and program participation: Women who participated in the program enrolled in postsecondary education at a rate that was 12 percentage points higher than women in the control condition (63% versus 51%). For men, the enrollment rates were essentially equal in the intervention and the control conditions. The portion of the study that estimates the impact of the coaching program on college enrollment meets What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards without reservations because it is a randomized controlled trial with no attrition. A more thorough review (forthcoming) will determine whether the follow-up findings for enrollment and the analyses of the impact of the program on enrollment for first-generation college students meet WWC evidence standards."

3. What does the research say about the relationship between student (K-12) participation in collaborative learning activities and academic and deeper learning outcomes?

Hitchcock, J., Dimino, J., Kurki, A., Wilkins, C., & Gersten, R. (2010). The impact of collaborative strategic reading on the reading comprehension of grade 5 students in linguistically diverse schools. (NCEE 2011-4001). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED517770

From the abstract: "Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is a set of instructional strategies designed to improve the reading comprehension of students with diverse abilities (Klingner and Vaughn 1996). Teachers implement CSR at the classroom level using scaffolded instruction to guide students in the independent use of four comprehension strategies; students apply the strategies to informational text while working in small cooperative learning groups. The current study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) examining the effect of CSR on student reading comprehension. Within each participating linguistically diverse school, grade 5 social studies classrooms were randomly assigned to either the CSR condition (using CSR when delivering social studies curricula) or to the control condition (a business-as-usual condition). The implementation period was one school year. This study focused on the following confirmatory research question: In linguistically diverse schools, do grade 5 students in CSR classrooms have higher average reading comprehension posttest scores on the Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE) than students in control classrooms? In addition, the study examined three exploratory research questions about CSR's effect on two subgroups of students: (1) Do grade 5 former and current English language learner (FC-ELL) students in CSR classrooms have higher average reading comprehension posttest scores on the GRADE than FC-ELL students in control classrooms?; (2) Do grade 5 non-ELL students in CSR classrooms have higher average reading comprehension posttest scores on the GRADE than non-ELL students in control classrooms?; and (3) Does CSR have a differential impact on GRADE reading comprehension posttest scores for grade 5 FC-ELL and non-ELL students? The intent of these exploratory analyses was to examine whether there is an effect for each subgroup separately, as well as whether there is a differential effect between the subgroups. The primary finding of this study is that CSR did not have a statistically significant impact on student reading comprehension."

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse. (2011). Adolescent Literacy intervention report: Student team reading and writing. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED526132

From the abstract: "'Student team reading and writing' refers to two cooperative learning programs for secondary students included in this intervention report: (1) 'Student Team Reading and Writing' and (2) Student Team Reading. The 'Student Team Reading and Writing' program (Stevens, 2003) is an integrated approach to reading and language arts for early adolescents. The program incorporates (1) cooperative learning classroom processes; (2) a literature anthology for high-interest reading material; (3) explicit instruction in reading comprehension; (4) integrated reading, writing, and language arts instruction; and (5) a writing process approach to language arts. 'Student Team Reading (Stevens, 1989; Stevens & Durkin, 1992) comprises the reading part of Student Team Reading and Writing' and consists of two principal elements: (1) literature-related activities (including partner reading, treasure hunts, word mastery, story retelling, story- related writing, and quizzes) and (2) direct instruction in reading comprehension strategies (such as identifying main ideas and themes, drawing conclusions, making predictions, and understanding figurative language). The writing part of the 'Student Team Reading and Writing' program includes selection-related writing. As part of the two programs that are the focus of this report, students work in heterogeneous learning teams, and activities are designed to follow a regular cycle that involves teacher presentation, team practice, independent practice, peer pre-assessment, and individual assessments that form the basis for team scores. The cooperative learning teams used in the programs are intended to engage students in academic interactions. Two studies of student team reading and writing that fall within the scope of the Adolescent Literacy review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards with reservations. The two studies included more than 5,200 adolescent learners from grades 6 through 8 in urban middle schools in the eastern United States. Based on these two studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for student team reading and writing on adolescent learners to be medium to large for the comprehension domain and small for the general literacy achievement domain. The two studies that meet WWC evidence standards with reservations did not examine the effectiveness of student team reading and writing on adolescent learners in the alphabetics and reading fluency domains. Student team reading and writing was found to have potentially positive effects on comprehension and no discernible effects on general literacy achievement for adolescent learners."

Methods

Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Student goal setting

  • College educational counseling

  • Collaborative learning

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched IES Programs and Resources and Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2002 to present, were include in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Region) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.