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Idaho’s College and Career Advising and Mentoring Program (Program) is intended to support Idaho’s Local Educational Agencies’ (LEAs) efforts to support Idaho students’ preparation for college and career readiness. In 2019, for the second consecutive year, the Idaho Legislature requested an independent evaluation of the Program. This evaluation, authored by the Idaho Policy Institute (IPI), builds on IPI’s 2019 report and considers the Program’s design, use of funds, effectiveness and other relevant metrics. It also presents an analysis of the Program’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats (also known as a SWOT analysis).


Efforts by the Idaho Office of the State Board of Education (OSBE) to streamline and improve the LEA College and Career Advising Plan (the Plan) submission process resulted in a higher quality of Plans submitted in 2019. However, not all Plans are up to date and some Plans do not include direct college and career counselor and advisor input. In addition, reporting requirements limit LEA’s ability to fully represent their use of funds, suggesting need for more contextual and purposeful reporting measures.


It is difficult to track or confirm LEA use of funds or determine funding impact on program effectiveness, as statute does not require LEAs to submit budgets with their plans nor provide expense reports. The funding allocation formula itself relies on student population and does not account for student or school need, which may hinder the Program’s ability to affect outcomes for students with the most potential for improvement. In addition, funding distribution does not incentivize goal attainment which may impede Program progress.


The current use of college go-on rates to measure Program success does not account for career readiness or success in college, preventing a comprehensive analysis of Program outcomes. This Program was also created alongside other statewide programs intended to improve post-high school outcomes, making it difficult to separate effects of individual programs. For example, there is significant overlap in many LEAs between College and Career Advising and Student Mentoring Programs and the Advanced Opportunities Programs.


This report was prepared by Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University and commissioned by the Idaho Office of the State Board of Education.