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ERIC Number: ED512261
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 45
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
Washington State's Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST): New Evidence of Effectiveness. CCRC Working Paper No. 20
Zeidenberg, Matthew; Cho, Sung-Woo; Jenkins, Davis
Community College Research Center, Columbia University
To increase the rate at which adult basic skills students advance to and succeed in college-level occupational programs, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) developed the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training, or I-BEST. 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. The authors examined students who enrolled in I-BEST in 2006-07 and 2007-08. They examined the effect of the program on seven educational outcome variables: (1) whether a student earned any college credit (of any kind), (2) whether a student earned any occupational college credit, (3) the number of college credits a student earned, (4) the number of occupational college credits a student earned, (5) whether or not a student persisted to the following year after initial enrollment, (6) whether a student earned a certificate or degree, and (7) whether a student achieved point gains on basic skills tests. They also examined the following two labor market outcomes: the change in wages for those who were employed both before and after program enrollment, and the change in the number of hours worked after leaving the program. They found that enrollment in I-BEST had positive impacts on all but one of the educational outcomes (persistence was not affected), but no impact on the two labor market outcomes. However, it is likely that I-BEST students did not fare better than the comparison group in the labor market because they were entering the market just as the economy was entering the recent major recession. Perhaps a future evaluation will reveal better labor market outcomes. The difference-in-differences (DID) analysis found that students who attended colleges with I-BEST after the program was implemented were 7.5 percentage points more likely to earn a certificate within three years and almost 10 percentage points more likely to earn some college credits, relative to students who were not exposed to I-BEST. Unlike the regression and PSM analyses, the DID approach allows them to make causal inferences about the effectiveness of I-BEST. The DID findings are especially impressive given that they are based on the effects of I-BEST during their first year of implementation at the subset of colleges offering the "treatment" examined. They assume that the effectiveness of the I-BEST model will improve as colleges have more experience with it. Appendices include: (1) Tables; and (2) A Brief Description of Propensity Score Matching. (Contains 13 tables, 4 figures and 17 footnotes.)
Community College Research Center. Available from: CCRC Publications. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Community College Research Center
Identifiers - Location: Washington
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Does Not Meet Evidence Standards