College & Career Research Symposia Release Four Essential Reports

October 24, 2019

A three-year effort led by the GSE’s College and Career Academy Support Network (CCASN) has resulted in a series of reports designed to offer guidance to, and encourage greater collaboration among educators, policy makers, and researchers by defining research priorities around the key issues impacting equity in student outcomes from college and career pathways.

College and career pathways are scaling up with a specific combination of interventions that research has shown address the opportunity gap and underlying causes of disparate high school outcomes. An increasing number of high schools combine career and technical education with rigorous academics, work-based learning, and integrated student supports in small, interdisciplinary learning communities to provide equitable access to postsecondary opportunities.

Yet education leaders face myriad challenges in changing inequitable school systems that were not designed for these interventions. Scaling up a redesign of education systems brings equity issues into stark relief. To define research priorities that could help practitioners and policymakers negotiate those issues, CCASN facilitated a unique consortium of ten research and policy organizations that collectively convened four innovative symposia.

These working symposia brought researchers from around the country together with practitioners, policy advocates, and other community stakeholders to examine research priorities around problems affecting equity in college and career pathways. The result is a series of reports that for the first time encompass the challenges at multiple levels, provide a roadmap for next steps, and promote collaborative, inclusive research approaches. Ultimately, this work advances the application of research to improve equity in student success.

Each symposium allowed attendees to deeply examine essential issues in scaling college and career pathways, and the resulting reports linked below offer the results. A synthesis of the four symposia will be forthcoming in late fall 2019, and the foundations for a national college and career pathway research network have been put in place.

The Secondary Student Experience (October 17, 2017)

We examined how to measure student success in college and career pathways: what we know about data use in pathway interventions and design, and measures of student achievement, engagement, and access to opportunities. We established the critical importance of applying an equity lens to prioritizing college and career pathway research.

Equity Issues in College and Career Pathways Teaching and Learning Practices (April 26, 2018)

We examined equity issues in pathway instructional practices (such as interdisciplinary project-based learning), as well as in the contextual factors affecting implementation of those practices: pathway structures, student access and supports, and teacher preparation.

Leadership and Capacity Building in College and Career Pathways (November 13, 2018)

We focused on the types of leadership and capacity building needed for college and career pathways. We assessed the value of research practice partnerships in building leadership and analyzing the research questions required to address problems of practice faced by pathway administrators, teachers, counselors, and other student support specialists.

Aligning College and Career Pathway Systems for Equity (April 26, 2019)

We involved systems-level practitioners and other stakeholders in identifying high priority problems of system alignment affecting equity in pathways, including equity in dual enrollment, educator pathway development, integration of work-based learning, and inclusion of community-based organizations in research on comprehensive student supports.