Impacts of Ramp-Up to Readiness™ After One Year of Implementation

 Original Source: Lindsay, J., Davis, E., Stephan, J., & Proger, A. (2017). “Impacts of Ramp-Up to Readiness™ After One Year of Implementation”. REL Midwest Website: Publications.
Subject: College Readiness
Research question/s:

1.     What is the impact of Ramp-Up on the likelihood of grade 12 students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

2.     What is the impact of Ramp-Up on grade 10, 11, and 12 students’ scores on the ACT Engage goal striving and commitment to college scales?

3.     What is the impact of Ramp-Up on the likelihood of grade 12 students submitting at least one college application? (This question was exploratory because the program developer had no firm expectations that this outcome would be affected by the program within a single year.)

4.     To what extent did schools implement the core components of Ramp-Up (structural supports, professional development, curriculum delivery, curriculum content, and postsecondary planning tools) as intended by the program developer?

Motivation/s: This report describes the impact of a program—Ramp-Up to Readiness™ (Ramp-Up)—that takes a schoolwide approach to improving the college readiness of high school students.
Data: This study was a randomized controlled trial. Fifty schools serving grades 10–12 (48 in Minnesota and 2 in western Wisconsin) applied to participate in this study in return for receiving training, materials, and coaching for the University of Minnesota’s College Readiness Consortium Ramp-Up to Readiness™ program at no cost. The study team randomly assigned schools to implement Ramp-Up either during the 2014/15 school year (the Ramp-Up group) or during the 2015/16 school year (the comparison group).
Methods: Hierarchical Linear Models
Findings:

1.     After a single year of implementation, there were no statistically significant differences on self-reported goal striving or commitment to college scores or on likelihood of completing the FAFSA and submitting at least one college application between students in Ramp-Up schools and students in comparison schools.

2.     Ramp-Up schools and comparison schools offered the same types of supplemental college-readiness supports.

3.     Staff in Ramp-Up schools engaged in more college-readiness activity than did staff in comparison schools. Students in Ramp-Up schools perceived a greater emphasis among staff on two of the five dimensions of college readiness (admissions readiness and financial readiness) than did students in comparison schools.

4.     When averaged across program components, 96  percent of Ramp-Up schools’ implementation scores fell within the range that the program developer classified in advance as adequate. However only 3 of the 25 (12 percent) Ramp-Up schools had adequate scores for all five of Ramp-Up’s key components (structural supports, professional development, curriculum delivery, curriculum content, and postsecondary planning tools), suggesting that Ramp-Up schools need to improve implementation if they hope to produce the program’s intended impacts.

Keywords: Career Readiness, College Readiness
Type: Technical Paper (also available as a Research Brief)
Status of the Work: Published

Alternative Indicators of College Readiness in Math: Can We Better Identify Who Needs Developmental Education?

Original Source: Gentsch, K. (2017). “Alternative Indicators of College Readiness in Math: Can We Better Identify Who Needs Developmental Education?”. The Research Alliance for New York City Schools Website: Publications
Subject: College Readiness
Research question/s: To what extent do high school GPA, math GPA in grade 11, and taking math in grade 12 predict whether or not a student will pass his or her first college math course?
Motivation/s: Developmental education policy has high stakes for students. Despite the prevalence of remedial education, recent evidence has mounted at CUNY and nationally that remedial courses may not benefit many of the students assigned to them. In October 2015 CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs launched a task force to review the University’s developmental education policies. One of its key recommendations, inspired by emerging research and practices in other university systems, was that CUNY revisit the criteria it uses to assign students to developmental education and consider the incorporation of grades and academic indicators other than standardized test scores into placement decisions. This study investigates the relative power of several pieces of evidence from a students’ high school record to predict whether he or she will pass a credit-bearing college course, which can inform future placement policies.
Data: An extensive longitudinal database compiled by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools that links administrative data from the New York City Department of Education and CUNY. The data include information on high school transcripts, as well as detailed college enrollment and course performance for students at CUNY colleges. The current analysis includes records for 8094 students who entered the ninth grade in 2006, graduated in four years, enrolled at CUNY in fall 2010, and took a credit-bearing math course.
Methods: Logistic Regression Models
Findings:

1.     Both overall GPA and grade 11 math GPA at the high school level are correlated with passing first college math course, with correlation coefficients of 0.28 and 0.21, respectively.

2.     There are no significant difference in college math pass rates for students who took math in grade 12 vs. those who did not take math in grade 12 overall (70 vs. 69 percent, respectively).

3.     Students who never took an upper Regents exam and who take math in grade 12 have lower passing rates in college math than those who do not take math in grade 12, though this difference is not statistically significant.

4.     Students who took an upper Regents exam before grade 12 and who took math in grade 12 do better in college math than those who did not take math in grade 12.

Keywords: College Readiness, Developmental Education, Math Instruction
Type: Technical Paper (also available as a Summary)
Status of the Work: Published

The Significance of High School Practices on Students’ Four-Year College Enrollment

Original Source: Coca, V. & Black, K. (2017). “The Significance of High School Practices on Students’ Four-Year College Enrollment”. The Research Alliance for New York City Schools Website: Publications.
Subject: College Readiness
Research question/s:

1.     How much school-level variation in four-year college enrollment is there across NYC high schools?

2.     How much of the between-school variation can be attributed to compositional effects, that is, to the incoming characteristics of students?

3.     After accounting for compositional effects, which malleable institutional practices and policies explain any remaining betweenschool variation in the rates of in a four-year college enrollment?

Motivation/s: The goal of this study was to better understand the extent to which NYC high schools differ in the rates at which they send their students to four-year colleges, and to learn about the features of high schools associated with better rates of four-year college enrollment.
Data: The data used for this study came from an extensive longitudinal database with information about NYC public school students, compiled by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools using data from the NYC DOE. This database included key information about student demographic and high school transcript information and was linked to data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) and administrative data from CUNY. The population studied in this report included two incoming cohorts of first-time ninth-graders (2007-2008 & 2008-2009). The base sample included 117,082 students in 377 high schools.
Methods: Two-Level Hierarchical Logistic Models
Findings:

1.     Only 19 percent of the variability in four-year college enrollment was accounted for by differences across high schools. In other words, the overwhelming majority of variation in students’ four-year college enrollment, was within rather than between schools.

2.     Much of the variation in four-year college enrollment rates across high schools—65 percent of the 19 percent enrollment at baseline—was accounted for entirely by students’ eighth-grade academic performance. In other words, a little more than 12 percent (.65 x 19% = 12.35%) of all the system level variation in college enrollment can be explained by looking at students’ 8th grade state test scores and 8th grade attendance.

3.     By contrast, including only demographic and background characteristics explained a more modest proportion of the between-school variance at baseline—only 21 percent of the 19 percent across schools, or just under 4 percent of all system-level variation (.21 x 19% = 3.99%).

4.     Three school factors (teachers’ postsecondary expectations for students, percentage of students who took an AP exam, and number of students per high school guidance counsellor) account for an additional 14 percentage points of the baseline between-schools variation in four-year enrollment, over and above that accounted for by the student-level characteristics—or an additional 2.7 percent of all variation system-wide (.14 x 19% = 2.7%).

Keywords: College Readiness
Type: Technical Paper (also available as a Summary)
Status of the Work: Published