Program

Aug 15, 2007

OVERVIEW

Upward Bound is designed to help prepare disadvantaged high school students for college and to increase college attendance rates.  The program consists of traditional academic instruction, support by program staff, and an instructional summer program.  An evaluation of the program found that Upward Bound participants were more likely to earn more post-secondary credits, receive higher levels of financial aid, and be more engaged in college activities than youth who were not in the program.  There was no significant effect on college attendance rates or high school graduation rates for the experimental group as a whole, but certain subgroups experienced these program gains.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: High school students from low-income families or who would be the first in their family to attend college

Upward Bound provides academic instruction, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, career planning, cultural programs, college planning services, meetings during the school year, and an intensive summer program to help improve the collegiate possibilities and outcomes of high school students.  Program participants are high school students who are either low-income or first-generation college prospects; two-thirds of the participants must have both of these characteristics.  Upward Bound operates on a program level and nationwide approximately 44,000 students participate in 563 Upward Bound programs.

Component Provided by Duration Description
Traditional academic instruction, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, career planning, cultural programs, college planning activities Program staff Up to 4 years.Meets regularly during the summer and school year.

Average student attends over 100 sessions of academic courses and 70 sessions of nonacademic activities

 

Resources are provided in addition to a rich and challenging academic program.
Meetings in the academic year Program staff
Intensive instructional program in the summer Program staff During summers, there is a residential program where students live on a college campus to simulate the college experience.

 

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Myers, D., & Schrim, A.  (April 1999).  The impacts of Upward Bound: Final report for phase I of the national evaluation.  WashingtonDC: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Evaluated population: Nationally representative sample of 67 Upward Bound project sites out of 395 qualifying projects. To qualify for selection into the study, a project site had to be in operation for at least 3 years at the time of the study, be hosted by either a 2- or 4-year college, and be serving not exclusively students with disabilities.  Students selected from the project sites were in grades 8-11.  1,500 students were in the treatment group and 1,300 were in the control group.

Approach: Researchers randomly selected 67 UB project sites and then randomly assigned eligible applicants at each site to either a treatment or control group.  The treatment group (N=1,500) was invited to take part in the program while the control group (N=1,300) was not invited to participate.  Students who are eligible for the UB project are low income and/or potential first generation college students.  Students were assessed at pre-test baseline (~100% response rate), post-test (97% response rate), and 2-year follow-up (85% response rate).  Surveys assessed students’ backgrounds, experiences related to school, supplemental services received, employment, and their plans for the future.  Official school transcripts were also obtained for the two post-test data collection points.

Results: UB had no impact on overall enrollment or credits earned at postsecondary institutions, but had an inconclusive impact on four-year postsecondary institution enrollment.  Among students with lower educational expectations, enrollment at four-year colleges was positively associated with assignment to the UB treatment group.  UB participation had no impact on enrollment at four-year colleges for students with higher educational expectations.  Compared with the control group, the UB group had a significant increase in credits earned at four-year colleges for low expectation students, but not higher expectation students.  Longer UB participation was associated with improved postsecondary attendance and earning of credits.  Among students with lower educational expectations, the UB group showed an increase in high school credits earned compared with the control group.

Myers, D., Olsen, R., Seftor, N., Young, J., & Tuttle, C. (2004).  The impacts of regular Upward Bound: Results from the third follow-up data collection.  Washington D.C.: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Evaluated Population: Nationally representative sample of 67 Upward Bound project sites out of 395 qualifying projects. To qualify for selection into the study, a project site had to be in operation for at least 3 years at the time of the study, be hosted by either a 2- or 4-year college, and be serving not exclusively students with disabilities.  Students selected from the project sites were in grades 8-11.  1,500 students were in the treatment group and 1,300 were in the control group.

Approach: Researchers randomly selected 67 UB project sites and then randomly assigned eligible applicants at each site to either a treatment or control group.  The treatment group (N=1,500) was invited to take part in the program while the control group (N=1,300) was not invited to participate.  Students who are eligible for the UB project are low income and/or potential first generation college students.  Students were assessed at pre-test baseline (~100% response rate), post-test (97% response rate), 2 year follow-up (85% response rate), and, the focus of this study, the 3-year follow-up (81% response rate).  Surveys assessed students’ backgrounds, experiences related to school, supplemental services received, employment, and their plans for the future.  Official school transcripts were also obtained for the three post-test data collection points.

Results: The results of this study focus on the three-year program impacts.  For initial and two year program impacts see Myers & Schrim, 1999.  At the three year follow-up data collection, students in the UB program displayed no differences compared with the control group on measures of total high school credits earned in science, English, social studies, foreign language, honors courses, or advanced placement courses.  Likewise, the program had no impact on grade point average or rates of high school completion.  Students in UB received more high school math credits (3.2) compared with the control group (3.0).  Students expecting to earn less than a bachelor’s degree earned more high school credits in the UB program (21) compared with their counterparts in the control group (19).  Similarly low expectation students assigned to the UB program received more credits in honors and advanced placement classes (0.9) compared with low-expectation students in the control group (0.5).  The graduation rates and grade point averages were not impacted by assignment to the UB program for low-expectation students.  Students defined as being at high academic risk received more high school credits in the Upward Bound program compared with high risk students in the control group.  This same gain was not observed for low academic risk students.  Both high and low risk students in the treatment group earned more credits in certain core areas (math, English, and social studies for the high risk group; math, science, and foreign language for the low risk group) compared with high and low risk students in the control group.

With respect to postsecondary education, the Upward Bound program had no impacts on enrollment rates of students or number of credits earned.  However, in low-expectation students, those assigned to the Upward Bound treatment were more likely to attend a four-year college (38%) and to have earned more credits at a four-year college (21.9) compared with those in the control condition (18% rate of attendance and 11.0 credits).  The Upward Bound program had especially strong impacts on the enrollment rates of Hispanics such that those in the treatment group were more likely to enroll in postsecondary schools (50%) and earned more credits in postsecondary schools (28.4) than Hispanics in the control group (38% rate of attendance and 13.1 credits).  Upward bound was also found to impact student engagement in postsecondary schools.  It also increased the likelihood of student employment in college, the number of hours per week worked during college, receipt of personal counseling, attendance at learning skills centers, and use of tutoring services.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Myers, D., Olsen, R., Seftor, N., Young, J., & Tuttle, C. (2004).  The impacts of regular Upward Bound: Results from the third follow-up data collection.  WashingtonD.C.: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Myers, D., & Schrim, A.  (April 1999).  The impacts of Upward Bound: Final report for phase I of the national evaluation.  WashingtonD.C.: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

Redd, Z., Cochran, S. W., Hair, E., & Moore, K. A. (2002). Academic achievement programs and development: A synthesis. Washington, D.C.: Child Trends.

Redd, Z., Brooks, J., & McGarvey, A. (2001). Background for community-level work on educational adjustment in adolescence: Reviewing the literature on contributing factors (pp.63). Washington, DC: Child Trends.

Program categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages: 15-24 / Program age ranges in the Guide: youth, young adults

Program components: mentoring/tutoring, school-based

Measured outcomes: education and cognitive development

KEYWORDS: High School; Co-ed; Mentoring; Tutoring; Middle School; College Enrollment/Preparation; Academic Motivation/Self-concept/Expectations; White/Caucasian; Black/African American; Hispanic/Latino; American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian.

Program information last updated 8/15/07.