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Research Questions

  1. How was the Creating College and Career Readiness (C3R) initiative implemented in schools?
  2. How many students participated in C3R, by software and overall?
  3. At what levels did students participate in C3R, by software and overall?
  4. What factors enabled or hindered the implementation of C3R?
  5. To what extent was the C3R initiative associated with improvements in student achievement, dropout, and graduation rates?
  6. To what extent was the C3R initiative associated with a successful postsecondary transition to work, the military, two- or four-year college, or training or certification programs?

The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative and Green River Regional Educational Cooperative received an Investing in Innovation (i3) development grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement the Creating College and Career Readiness (C3R) initiative. The initiative offered a suite of software developed by WIN Learning (WIN) to support college and career readiness (CCR) among students in grades 8 through 12. The software suite was originally created for adults in workforce development programs and, in 2011, C3R was the first implementation of the suite in the kindergarten–12th grade context.

This report presents findings from the evaluation of C3R. One hundred twenty-seven schools, including technical schools and area technical centers, implemented the C3R initiative with students in grades 8 to 12 from the 2013–2014 to 2016–2017 school years. The initiative involved the implementation of three software applications that aimed to prepare students for life after high school.

Key Findings

Few students used all three software applications every year

  • The number of students who used even a single software application in a year was extremely low.
  • Approximately 20 percent of students eligible to participate in C3R engaged in at least one software application in a given year.
  • No students met fidelity for the overall initiative.

Various factors influenced implementation

  • No school implemented C3R as intended by WIN; school-designed implementation plans indicated schools had not intended to.
  • Principals, teachers, and cooperative staff reported students could not log in or lost connectivity while using the software in the early years of C3R use.
  • Principals and teachers reported students often completed work only to find that the software had not recorded their progress primarily in years 1 and 2 of C3R.
  • Some teachers reported that the district had other software that provided similar supports for students as provided by the C3R software.
  • The majority of schools were low-resourced schools with limited access to computers or other devices during the C3R school years.

School staff also identified factors that supported implementation

  • Educators and the cooperatives' staff who participated in interviews supported the goals of C3R and reported that it was highly aligned with each school's improvement goals.
  • The Kentucky Department of Education provides and manages high-speed internet in schools across the state. The access provided by the state eliminated some of the most basic barriers to implementing an online intervention.
  • Regional meetings in the early years were helpful in learning from other schools.

Recommendations

  • Approach the adoption of the software as a partnership between software developers and educators, particularly when the adoption is in a new context.
  • Clearly communicate how educational technology supports school or district goals in order to build buy-in.
  • Establish implementation goals that jointly reflect perspectives of software developers and educators.
  • Develop tools and resources to support implementation planning.
  • Convene regular meetings of educators and software developers to discuss successes, challenges, and future directions.
  • Assess technical capabilities of software and infrastructure (e.g., broadband, administrative settings, connectivity) prior to wide-scale usage.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Methods

  • Chapter Three

    The C3R Initiative

  • Chapter Four

    Implementation of C3R

  • Chapter Five

    Effects of C3R on Student Outcomes

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Technical Appendixes

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative and conducted by RAND Education.

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