The goal of the case study is to provide an example of the P-TECH model outside of the IBM industry partner context. Over several months, IBM worked in partnership with GSTSA to take a deep dive into understanding the implementation of the P-TECH model. GSTSA provided nonidentifiable student-level data with key academic metrics by academic year. Additionally, IBM interviewed nine individuals representing different parts of the P-TECH model – from students or alumni to industry partner representatives.
GSTSA has done well in making this education model fit their particular context. It is no small feat to facilitate a program in which students are traveling from different counties to attend high school, all while getting students’ schedules set up to attend college classes. Several people spoke about the struggle of getting a balance between the high school and community college schedule in the interviews.
The first cohort to begin the six-year program was retained up to almost 80%, with some drops at the fifth and sixth years. Many students opt into going back to the local high school to finish school with their friends or leave early to join the military.
Despite the drops in retention, 34% of Cohort 1 students graduated high school with a high school diploma and AAS degree between four and five years.
Additionally, 44% of Cohort 2 graduated with high school and AA degrees, showing an upward trend in students graduating with degrees. Of the entire population that graduated, about 60% are female, which is an encouraging sign reflecting increased women’s participation in STEM.