Agenda, Scope, and Goals
A key feature of the P-TECH 9-14 model is the institutional partnership that exists among secondary education, postsecondary education, and industry. This partnership enables students to have a seamless experience in which high school, college, and career training are aligned. It also allows students to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree (or another industry-accepted two-year credential) in a high-skills field associated with a middle-class wage. Though individual schools and partnerships vary according to industry and career focus, as well as the local resources and labor market, a set of design principles defines a P-TECH 9-14 school and addresses key labor force opportunities for young adults, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. These principles include:
- A focus on “middle jobs” (those that require more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree) that ensure graduates will be prepared for positions that offer a middle-class wage.
- Motivating students by creating explicit opportunities for securing a well-paying job.
- Providing rigorous academic instruction that prepares students with the high-level skills required by prospective employers.
- Creating a program that expects every student to complete a first college credential and to focus on a specific career pathway.
- Eliminating financial barriers to postsecondary education.
- Offering time for individualized support, work-based learning experiences, internships, and other invaluable exposure to a professional environment.
- Building effective secondary, postsecondary, and employer partnerships that ensure that students receive the preparation needed for every college course and for workplace success.
MDRC is conducting an impact, implementation, and cost study of the P-TECH 9-14 school model, incorporating data from all seven of the New York City model schools.
The impact research is designed to answer four main questions:
What is the effect of being offered a seat in a P-TECH 9-14 school on students’ high school success and college readiness?
What is the effect of being offered a seat in a P-TECH 9-14 school on postsecondary enrollment, credit accumulation, and degree attainment?
What is the effect of enrolling in a P-TECH 9-14 school on students’ high school success and college readiness?
What is the effect of enrolling in a P-TECH 9-14 school on postsecondary enrollment, credit accumulation, and degree attainment?
The implementation research is designed to answer five main questions:
To what extent are the four components of the model ― focus on early college, focus on career, focus on individual student pathways, and efforts to incorporate extended learning time into the school schedule ― implemented as designed?
What is the nature, intensity, and duration of programming offered to students?
What is the nature, intensity, and duration of programming that students actually receive?
How different are the experiences offered to students in P-TECH 9-14 schools from those offered in non-P-TECH 9-14 schools (the counterfactual condition)?
What are the conditions under which P-TECH 9-14 is being implemented?
The cost study is designed to answer two questions:
What are the start-up and ongoing costs associated with the P-TECH 9-14 program?
How cost-effective is the P-TECH 9-14 model?
The cost study will be conducted using the “ingredients” method: Cost data will be collected for the P-TECH 9-14 schools and for the comparison school both from publicly available data sources and during this project’s implementation research activities.