White Papers

Attachment and Aspiration

What Influences Rural Youths' Educational and Residential Plans?

Categorized Under: Education, Families + Communities



Building on recent research, ICF sought to explore how socioeconomic status and attachment to place influence rural youths’ educational and residential preferences across a wider geographic region. Our research questions included: What are rural high school students’ educational and residential plans? And what factors influence rural youths’ plans for adulthood?

This white paper summarizes ICF’s findings using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data. First we identified districts with locale codes of 41 (rural fringe), 42 (rural distant), and 43 (rural remote) in eight states: Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia. Because we also examined the experiences of rural English Language Learners (ELL), we then selected and identified rural districts with ELL growth rates of 100 percent or higher between 2000–2001 and 2007–2008. Finally, we identified high schools within selected districts, for a total of 612 high schools.

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Authored By

  • Caitlin Howley

    Senior ManagerICF International

    Caitlin Howley has nearly 20 years of experience leading education research and program evaluation studies and providing technical assistance to educators. Located in ICF's Charleston, West Virginia office, she serves as associate director of the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) and conducts research for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic and  K–12 and college programs for at-risk student populations across the Appalachian region. Dr. Howley also provides technical assistance to education leaders and practitioners via the Reform Support Network. In earlier capacities, Howley directed evaluation for the Appalachia Eisenhower Regional Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education, provided evaluation services to the Region IV Comprehensive Center, and served as a Research and Evaluation Specialist with the Appalachia Regional Education Laboratory.

    Dr. Howley has a Ph.D in Sociology from Temple University, and she has received awards from the National Rural Education Association and the American Educational Research Association.

  • Dr. Kim Hambrick

    PrincipalICF International

    Dr. Kimberly Hambrick serves as Regional Director of ICF's Charleston, West Virginia, office and Director of the National Laboratory Network subcontract under Regional Educational Lab Mid-Atlantic (REL Mid-Atlantic). Dr. Hambrick oversees evaluation intervention contracts in the Youth and Adult Education line of business. Her expertise includes evaluation and research designs, methods, analysis, and use.

    She has more than 20 years' in program evaluation, technical assistance programs, and social science research for federal, state, and local clients. She directed the multiyear, multimillion federal Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Consortium and the evaluation components for multiyear, multimillion dollar federal contracts focused on providing technical assistance.

Insight Details

Published: May 11, 2011
Authors: ,

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