Report Introduction

Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan
Skill Gain Study
Summer 2007


About the Study

This study reports results of an analysis of a sample of Work-Based Learning Plans (WBLPs) from Connecting Activities / School to Career programs across the state. In spring 2007, we sent out a request for any available electronic copies of WBLPs. Staff from six regions contributed electronic copies of more than 900 WBLPs for the study. As requested, the sample included WBLPs in a variety of different stages. About half the plans in the sample were completed plans with both first and second reviews. All 900 WBLPs were used to collect examples of job descriptions and skills (See Resources page) and the 433 WBLPs with first and second reviews were used for analysis of skill gain for this study. The sample WBLPs were provided by the Boston Private Industry Council, Hampden County WIB (River East, River West and Springfield Local Partnerships), Greater New Bedford WIB, North Shore WIB, Central Massachusetts WIB and North Central WIB.

This study represents the first systematic look at the use of the new, redesigned version of the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan, which was introduced in May 2006. The original WBLP was designed in 1999, and has been used successfully across the state since then. In 2005, providers began meeting to design a new, streamlined version of the WBLP, and, after a pilot of the new version in the spring 2006, introduced the new version in May 2006.

This study is similar to the Skill Gain study that was conducted during the 2000-2001 program year. The 2000-2001 study analyzed a sample of 1000 Work-Based Learning Plans, using the original version of the Work-Based Learning Plan, and produced findings similar to the findings of this study.

Method of Analysis

The Work-Based Learning Plans were completed using either the Microsoft Word format or the WBLP screens in the Massachusetts School to Career Database. Plans that were completed in Microsoft Word were imported into the database for storage and analysis. Connecting Activities / School to Career staff from five regions contributed information. The sample was not completely random, but was based on the availability of electronic copies of WBLPs.

The School to Career Database includes "Skill Gain Report" screens that select plans with a first and second review and, for each skill, present the average rating at the first review, the average rating at the second review, the average change, and the number of plans included. This analysis can be run for all of the WBLPs in the database or for any subset of WBLPs.

Summary of Findings

Participants showed skill gain during their work-based learning experiences, as measured by ratings on the WBLP. Average ratings for the “Foundation Skills” and the “Workplace and Career Specific Skills” were higher at the second review than at the first, initial review. View results:

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