Examines a basic education and skills training program to determine whether there were increases in students who were able to complete coursework leading to certificates or associate degrees.

"In the I-BEST model, a basic skills instructor and an occupational instructor team teach occupational courses with integrated basic skills content, and students receive college-level credit for the occupational coursework. The goal of this instructional model is to increase the rate at which basic skills students are able to succeed in college-level coursework leading to certificates and associate degrees in high-demand fields… [This study] examined students who enrolled in I-BEST in 2006–07 and 2007–08. [It] examined the effect of the program on seven educational outcome variables" (p.1). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST): New Evidence of Effectiveness


Major Findings & Recommendations

• Similar to an earlier quantitative study of I-BEST, “the regression and propensity score analyses conducted with a larger sample of students over a longer time period showed positive relationships between participation in I-BEST and various desirable outcomes” (p.28). • “I-BEST eligibility had a positive effect on earning an occupational certificate by 7.4 percentage points, a result that was statistically significant at the ten-percent level. There were no indications, however, that I-BEST had an effect on associate degree attainment” (p.26–27). • “I-BEST students earned substantially more college credits (both total and CTE) than their peers, were much more likely to earn an award, and were moderately more likely to achieve a basic skills gain” (p.28). • “I-BEST students in [the] sample received financial aid at significantly higher rates than other basic skills students, which is not surprising because we found through qualitative work reported in a companion study that colleges have actively sought to help I-BEST students get financial aid… Thus, it is possible that the positive effects of I-BEST are due not to the program content or structure but to the improved access to financial aid that allows students to progress” (p.28). • “When students were exposed to this program, there was a direct and statistically significant relationship to their actual enrollment in it, which further supports our finding of a causal relationship between I-BEST and positive student outcomes” (p.29). • “[There was no] relationship between I-BEST and positive wage changes or average hours worked after leaving the program. However, the students in [the] sample exited the program just as a major recession was starting, which might explain the lack of labor market benefits of I-BEST in the period under study” (p.29). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)