Absence of conflict of interest
This study was conducted by staff from Abt Associates, which administers CLEAR. The review of this study was conducted by ICF Incorporated, which also administers CLEAR and is trained in applying the CLEAR causal evidence guidelines.
- The study's objective was to examine the impact of Patient Care Pathways Program (PCPP) on education outcomes. The authors investigated similar research questions for other programs, the profiles of which can be found here.
- The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of PCPP on education outcomes. Using participant surveys and administrative records, the authors conducted a statistical model to compare the outcomes of the treatment and control group members.
- The study found that there were no significant differences between PCPP and control participants in the number of credits earned or in earning one or more credential(s).
- This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to the Patient Care Pathways Program (PCPP) and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.
Patient Care Pathways Program (PCPP)
Features of the Intervention
The Patient Care Pathway Program (PCPP) at Madison College in Wisconsin focused on basic skills remediation. PCPP provided occupational training academies designed to prepare students to transition to either a one-year or two-year healthcare diploma program. The academies were accelerated and included basic skills classes concurrently with occupational training. PCPP also provided academic advising and supports, including support in accessing financial aid and continued support after program completion. The program served individuals with low occupational skills who were interested in working in healthcare; many participants also had low incomes.
Features of the Study
This study was part of the multi-program Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation. The PACE evaluation was intended to address the gap in research on the effectiveness of career pathways programs, or programs providing postsecondary training or education in growing employment sectors. This profile focuses on PCPP.
The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of PCPP. Of the 500 participants who enrolled in the study between December 2011 and January 2014, 251 were randomly assigned to PCPP (treatment group) and 249 were assigned to the control group. Control group members could not receive PCPP services but could choose to participate in other employment services within the community. The majority of the study sample was female (84 percent) and two-thirds of participants identified as White (67 percent), with 21 percent identifying as Black/African American and 9 percent identifying as Hispanic/Latino. Forty-four percent of the sample had a high school degree or equivalency credential without further education/training. The data for the credits earned and credential receipt outcomes were drawn from the PACE 18-month survey and administrative records. The authors used a statistical model to compare the outcomes of the treatment group with those of the control group.
Education and skills gains
- The study found no significant difference between treatment participants and control participants in the likelihood of earning one or more credential(s).
- The study also found no significant difference between treatment participants and control participants in the number of credits earned.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
While the outcomes reviewed were highly related to the goals of PCPP, the study authors note that the program's extended timeframe made it less likely that positive outcomes would be observed at the 18-month mark.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high, because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to PCPP and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.