Evaluation of the Demonstration Sites in the ConnectEd Network
It should be common sense: guiding young people to a successful future should mean preparing them for both college and careers, not just one or the other. But California schools, like most others in the nation, too often have treated academic and technical studies as an either/or proposition. This dichotomy has not served students or society well. Far too many students are dropping out of school, and many others earn a diploma without truly mastering the knowledge and skills necessary for life after high school.
One promising strategy for engaging students in learning that prepares them for several options after graduation is the multiple pathways approach. Multiple pathways are comprehensive programs of study that connect classroom learning with applications in the real world outside school. Pathways integrate rigorous academic instruction with demanding technical curricula and work-based learning. This study shows that this approach does, indeed, show promise for being an effective approach to enhancing the engagement and learning of students, while also preparing them effectively for a wide range of careers. The potential of this approach warrants additional research attention, since the propensity of high school students to disengage and to feel disconnected from school is so well known.