WWC review of this study

Final Evaluation of the ACED Grant at Salt Lake Community College.

Bragg, D., Cosgrove, J., Cosgrove, M., & Blume, G. (2018). Bragg & Associates, Inc. .

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    1,448
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: December 2019

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Short-Term Earnings outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Highest Wage, Q1 to Q8

Competency-based education (CBE) vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,448 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7
 
Short-Term Employment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Employment in First Quarter Post-Completion

Competency-based education (CBE) vs. Business as usual

3 Months

Full sample;
1,448 students

21.60

16.60

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 34%
    Male: 66%

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    Utah
  • Race
    Native American
    2%
    Other or unknown
    33%
    Pacific Islander
    2%
    White
    63%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    23%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    77%

Setting

Utah's Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) is home to six schools, one of which - the School of Applied Technology and Technology Studies (SATTS) - was the setting for this study. SATTS offers 24 programs of study (POS) within six career clusters. SATTS was a Round 4 TAACCCT grantee and used the funding to support conversion of their POSs to a competency-based education (CBE) model. The POSs offer various credentials and certificates to recognize student accomplishment and competency: 1) Certificate of Completion (CC) is awarded upon successful completion of 30-33 semester credit hours in a coherent sequence of courses, typically one year long; 2) Certificate of Proficiency (CP) is awarded upon successful completion of 16-29 credit hours, typically less than a year in length; and 3) Certificate of Achievement (CA) has no minimum or maximum length or general education requirements but is issued by individual departments, divisions, or schools; they are not recorded on the transcript.

Study sample

Over half of the students were White (63%), less than 10% identified as any other race, and less than one-quarter (23%) were Hispanic. Two-thirds (66%) were male. Just under half (44%) had some college at the start of the program, and over half (54%) were employed at the start of the program.

Intervention Group

A TAACCCT grant supported improvements to 24 programs of study in the form of competency-based education, with the goal of reduced time to completion, reduced cost of attendance, emphasis on self-paced and self-directed learning, etc. Improvements to student supports included improving relationships among campus units, improving marketing and communications with students, and redesigning a wide range of student supports such as onboarding and initial advising (page 2). Efforts were also made to engage with employers. Some of the 24 programs of study could be completed in a year or under, while some took more than a year to complete.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition were enrolled in POSs that had not yet converted to the CBE model - following a traditional credit-hour-based approach.

Support for implementation

A TAACCCT grant supported the implementation of this intervention.

 

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