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Evidence on Career Academies and Linked Learning (2011)

David Stern and Gary Hoachlander
November 21, 2011

This paper summarizes existing evidence on career academies and Linked Learning. Most of this evidence has come from evaluations of career academies, which have been widely replicated since the model originated in 1969 in Philadelphia. These evaluations have found gains for career academy students during high school, on such measures as credits earned, GPA, and college-preparatory courses completed. Career academy students perform just as well as their peers on standardized tests, and a recent study outside of career academies found that embedding academic topics in technical courses can lead to higher test scores. Increased earnings of career academy graduates also provide evidence of significant learning. With regard to postsecondary educational attainment, the only study of career academies that used a random-assignment design found no impact, but relatively large proportions of both the career academy students and the control group completed postsecondary credentials or degrees. The quasi-experimental and correlational evidence generally shows higher postsecondary educational attainment for career academy students.


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