Evaluation of the College Bound Summer Program for High School Students with Disabilities
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In the current education environment, students with disabilities may lack adequate transition planning in high school that may explain why these students often experience poor outcomes in higher education. The College Bound Summer Program was developed in 1999 as a supplement program within the state of Virginia to address transition issues and college success strategies for students with disabilities planning to attend college. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify and assess the strengths and needs of College Bound . The intent of the evaluation is to provide data to guide the continuing development and improvement of the program. An adaptation of Schalock's (2001) outcome based evaluation model is utilized to provide a practical, problem-solving approach to gauge the quality and effectiveness of the program and to establish whether the program has produced its desired outcomes for participants. Sources of data included (a) interviews with 26 participants who attended the program in 1999, 2000, and 2001; and (b) extant documentation regarding program implementation. Data were analyzed qualitatively using constant comparative methods to derive findings that addressed eight categories related to College Bound's strengths and needs: (a) Learning Outcomes, (b) Experiencing On-Campus Living, (c) Attending Workshops, (d) Facilitating Personal Networks, (e) Marketing the Program, (f) Assessing Satisfaction, (g) Gathering Transition Information, and (h) Offering Suggestions. Findings from this evaluation suggest that the draw of College Bound for participants is concern regarding disability challenges in higher education. The data suggest that both parents and students are anxious about attending college and meeting the challenges of the collegiate environment. College Bound appears to be meeting the needs of the participants with programmatic strength in the following areas: (a) developing self-advocacy; (b) accessing college support services, and (c) networking with other participants, and (d) interacting with successful college students with disabilities.
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