Design, Sites, and Data Sources
NWTC’s GED Bridge program includes an original curriculum that integrates material from various careers. The program is a 15-week course that provides GED instruction in two seven-week segments, each with a focus on one of four different industry sectors —- health, business, trades, and public safety. Additionally, this course includes a one-week focus on transition activities, centered between the two seven-week segments. Students not only prepare for the GED or a high school equivalency exam but also learn about the types of employment opportunities that exist in each of the industries, helping them make better decisions about their postsecondary education and career options. In addition, GED Bridge students have access to a Transitions Specialist who works with them to plan for postsecondary education and training.
The evaluation will run from the spring semester of 2015 through the spring semester of 2017. It aims to enroll 400 students in all, of whom half will be randomly assigned to GED Bridge and half will be randomly assigned to NWTC’s traditional GED preparation class, GED Prep 2. Follow-up data on participants will be collected through spring 2018.
Data for the study will come from a Baseline Information Form (a short survey on demographic and other background characteristics that students fill out before random assignment), program attendance and completion records, the GED Testing Service (for GED exam results), NWTC’s enrollment database, and the National Student Clearinghouse (for enrollment data on students who attend a different postsecondary institution). MDRC researchers will also visit the college to observe both types of GED classes and interview instructors, case managers, and college officials. Researchers may also conduct focus groups with students in both groups.