NCTN National College Transition Network
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Evaluation of the Pennsylvania Career Gateway

The NCTN staff conducted a two-year (2006-2007) evaluation of the Pennsylvania Career Gateway project for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE), with Drennon & Associates.  The goal of this ongoing system reform effort is to remove barriers to effective transitions, and improve adults’ ability to not just enter but also persist in postsecondary education and training. Implemented by ten ABLE programs in collaboration with their local CareerLink offices, Career Gateway formalized an unprecedented level of collaboration between the Pennsylvania Bureau of ABLE and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, and by extension, Workforce Investment Boards. The project also aimed to put in place partnerships between the ABLE programs and postsecondary education and training providers.

The Career Gateway project evaluation was both formative and summative. Evaluation methods included interviews and focus groups with ABLE and CareerLink staff as well as students; online surveys; observations of instruction; reviews of a toolkit developed for the project and of other documents; and observations of meetings among partners. The evaluation team developed and analyzed results from an Inventory of Career Preparation Topics completed by ABLE program staff to indicate which topics they had covered and to what extent.  In addition to focus groups, student outcomes were measured using two methods developed by the evaluation team: 1) a scoring rubric to assess student learning based on a required culminating assignment; and 2) Student Entries to Postsecondary Education forms that tracked distinct stages and aspects of students’ goals and entry to college or training programs.

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