Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 99–125 | Cite as

Career Pathways and Integrated Instruction: A National Program Review of I-BEST Implementations

  • Kenneth A. Couch
  • Matthew B. Ross
  • Jessica Vavrek
Article
  • 64 Downloads

Abstract

Contextualized educational programs nested within career pathways provide instruction aimed at improving academic and vocational skills in the context of learning about a specific career or occupation. When the emphasis is on vocational training, contextualized education is commonly referred to as integrated instruction. This review provides an overview of the conceptual motivation and major elements of the career pathways and contextualized education approaches, with an emphasis on integrated instruction. This conceptual framework is used as the basis for conducting a detailed review of the important elements, operation, and empirical evidence of various local implementations of the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) model. We focus on variants of the I-BEST model, initially conceived and implemented in Washington, because it is the most widely known application of these approaches. Although several evaluations of Washington’s program found it to be more effective than traditional alternatives, we find little empirical evidence in support of the short-term local variants implemented elsewhere. This review provides important considerations for program administrators and policymakers as well as observations regarding gaps in knowledge regarding program operation and outcomes that deserve additional research.

Keywords

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training I-BEST Contextualized education Integrated education Career pathways 

Notes

Acknowledgment

This study was funded by a grant from the Connecticut Department of Labor to the University of Connecticut for which Professor Kenneth Couch was the Principal Investigator. Matthew Ross and Jessica Vavrek worked as graduate research assistants on this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Couch
    • 1
  • Matthew B. Ross
    • 2
  • Jessica Vavrek
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Boston CollegeResearch AnalystChessnut HillUSA

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