High school students participating in 16 California multiple pathways programs generally graduated at higher rates, met university requirements in greater numbers, performed better on high school exit exams and were more engaged in school and learning. This report summarizes a 2007-2008 study of the ConnectEd Network of Schools, capturing positive results as well as challenges. Results are not considered conclusive, but provide encouragement and insight as Irvine launches a larger-scale demonstration: the California Multiple Pathways District Initiative. The report is also intended to offer insights to funders, policymakers and practitioners who, like Irvine, see great potential in California multiple pathways to help students build a strong foundation for success in college and career -- and life. The study was conducted by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading education research and consulting firm.
- Successful Strategy: High school graduation rates in the multiple pathway programs exceeded the California state average.
- Successful Strategy: Thirty-five percent of participating students met the eligibility requirements for admission to the University of California and California State University postsecondary systems.
- Successful Strategy: Multiple pathway students in the Network were also more likely than other California students to pass the California High School Exit Exam on their first attempt in 10th grade.
- Successful Strategy: Hispanic and African American Network students were more likely to score proficient or advanced in English, history, and physical science subjects compared to Hispanic and African American students statewide.
- Successful Strategy: Students and teachers at Network schools said they believed that student attitudes were much more positive when compared to other programs they had been part of. Students appreciated the freedom to make choices about their studies, demonstrated self-confidence and motivation, and worked well together in the close-knit programs.
- Observation: Network students as a group performed similarly to other students statewide on exams in English, history, and several of the physical sciences.
- Challenge: Most sites are still working toward true integration of rigorous academic and technically demanding content, which is key to the success of the programs.