Theory of Action

Interlocking Theories Connect Goals from Childhood through College and Careers

Our success at increasing college-going rates begins early by aligning goals across a vertical pipeline of early years through college, including P-20 academic standards for assessment, curriculum, and professional development. The Educational Partnership Center takes the distinctive approach of linking three complimentary theories: Bridging Multiple Worlds Model, Expectancy Model, and the Sociocultural Constructivist Model.

Bridging Multiple Worlds Model

The Bridging Multiple Worlds Model focuses on how ethnically diverse youth, including immigrant, ethnic minority, and low-income students develop their identities as they navigate pathways from childhood through school to adult career and family roles. The model traces five dimensions over time:

    Demographics Along the Academic Pipeline: Families; national origin, home languages, ethnicities, and parents; education and occupations;

    Youth Identity Pathways to College and Careers: Student and parent aspirations for education and careers;

    Mathematics and Language Academic Pathways: Math and language pathways through school, Algebra 1 as a gateway to college and careers, and university eligibility and admission;

    Cultural Brokers: Bridging Resources and Challenges Across Worlds: How the worlds of families, peers, schools, and communities are connected; and

    Cultural Research Partnerships from Childhood to College: Partnerships, such as the Educational Partnership Center, help transform the academic pipeline and boost resources across worlds to support pathways to college and careers.

Expectancy Model

The Expectancy Model of motivation helps to explain how individuals and groups choose to participate in a particular task, apply a particular level of effort, and persist in attempts to accomplish that task. This approach shows how educational outcomes, such as going to college are linked to such outcomes being clear and valued, to students knowing what they need to do to achieve these outcomes, and to students "efficacy" or belief that they can do what is necessary to achieve them. Skills, knowledge of the educational system, and a sense of efficacy are each important to successful pathways through school. EPC draws on this model in its central focus on students; and families; college aspirations and; college knowledge; from childhood through college to careers. College knowledge refers to the ever-changing body of information students and families need to navigate the educational system, including college eligibility, college prep courses, college applications, entrance exams, financial aid, as well as retention, graduation, and postgraduate opportunities.

Sociocultural Constructivist Model

The Sociocultural Constructivist Model considers learning as an interaction between novices and experts as they work together on culturally relevant tasks, with novices gradually entering the experts' community through increasing levels of participation in family, school, and community settings. The focus on this theory and research on communities of learners is demonstrated in the way EPC works with K-12 districts in vertical teams of UC and community college faculty, district teachers and counselors, families, EPC staff, and students.

    Learning occurs through interaction between novice and expert (counselor/teacher to student)

    Novices internalize speech and behaviors of experts (student to counselor)

    Novices enter expert community through peripheral participation (campus visits, academic enrichment, residential programs)

    Novices learn more from fellow apprentices just a step ahead of them than from older experts (undergraduate Academic Interns and tutors)