A Comparative Analysis of Success by Project Level Characteristics in the Upward Bound Program

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Virginia Tech

Data gathered by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., contractor for the Department of Education were used to analyze successful project level characteristics of the Upward Bound program. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. provided two data files for this study: a student data file and a grantees data file. The first data file includes information from a nationally representative sample of students who applied to the Upward Bound program between 1992 and 1994 and were assigned to either the Upward Bound group or a control group. The second data file included information from a random sample of Upward Bound project grantees.

Both the student and grantees data files were used to create a design to determine Upward Bound project level characteristics that highly correlated to student success. The project level characteristics that were examined included project setting (location, size and host institution), academic characteristics (student-staff ratio, course offerings during the summer and academic year, and the number of years a project has been in operation) and student characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity and employment). The student success measures used in this study included grade point average, total high school credits earned, Advanced Placement credits earned, high school dropout status and graduation status.

Findings from this study suggest that Upward Bound projects with lower student to staff ratios and fewer academic year course offerings have students earning more high school credits and more student graduating from high school. In addition to academic characteristics, ethnicity seem to be related to the success of projects. When compared across project settings, projects from two-year rural colleges and four-year public suburban colleges have the most successful students.

Upward Bound, TRIO