» ILC Evaluation

In the Fall of 2011, Chapman Faculty Keith Howard, Margie Curwen, and Anaida Colon-Muniz entered into an agreement with the Anaheim Union High School District to conduct a mixed-methods evaluation study of their Anaheim High School Independent Learning Center (ILC). The ILC was established under the guidance of Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano, Project Director of Innovative Programs in the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD). The ILC is a technology-supported, site-integrated, independent study program aimed at helping recent dropouts get back on track to graduation. It operates as a school within a school on the Anaheim High School campus, providing a blended alternative that is neither a traditional onsite school nor an entirely online program. 

In 2013, Chapman completed its second year of a three year collaborative study of the ILC to evaluate its effectiveness and to provide data to support improving and maintaining the successes observed. 

Preliminary Study Findings

ILC study team Of the 90 ILC students participating in our study during the first year, 41% had graduated with full diplomas by year’s end. Seventy-two percent of the participants had either graduated, completed all of their coursework, or were continuing their work in the center for a later graduation date. Considering that all of the participants were either prior dropouts or were so far behind in credits that graduation was not feasible in the traditional program, these numbers begin to tell the story of a program that has had positive impact on the lives of its students.  In addition, other findings related to the center were as follows:

(photo: ILC teachers Cori Esperanza, Oscar Ramirez, Gabriela Reyes, DFAA Director Keith Howard, and ILC Director Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano)

Motivational Measures

ILC assemby with Rueben Martinez

  • Participating students exhibited significantly improved perspectives as to their respective future outlooks as indicated by the change over the year in their ratings on a scale designed to measure hope (Snyder et al., 1997).
  • Participating students were found to have a significantly increased level of self-efficacy for self-regulated learning after the first year of the study. This measure reflects their perceived ability to plan and regulate their own study habits as they navigate the curricula.
  • 90% of interview participants indicated that their ability to plan their study activities has improved since coming to the ILC
  • 80% indicated they have better help-seeking behaviors after coming to the ILC

(Photo: Reuben Martinez (left) answers students questions at an assembly moderated by ILC Counselor Joe Casas (right)

Impact of Online Curriculum

ILC teachers

  • Participants’ perspectives of the online curricula (Apex) were overwhelmingly positive, with 97% of them indicating that they had a good experience with the program. 
  • Reasons provided for their positive perception of the online curricula were its accessibility, the ability to work at their own pace, and the ability to replay instruction over again until they fully grasped the material.

(Photo: ILC Teachers Oscar Ramirez, Pete Nguyen, Gabriela Reyes, Chapman Fellow Rueben Martinez, ILC Counselor Joe Casas, and ILC Director Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano)

Student Beliefs on Where They Would Be Without ILC

AUHSD graduation

  • About 30% of the interview respondents indicated that, were it not for the ILC, they would be doing the same kinds of things that led to their previous dropout or poor performance.
  • Another 33% believed that they would be enrolled in either the county program (ACCESS) or going to a continuation school if not for the ILC.
  • Yet another 33% expressed the belief that they would not be continuing their pursuit of their high school diplomas if it weren’t for the ILC, but rather they would simply not be in school at all.