Contractors: Decision Information Resources, Abt Associates, MPR Associates
Given new evaluation requirements in the 2008 reauthorization of HEA and the administration's emphasis on expanding access to college and improving the rate of college completion, policy makers would benefit from benefit from evaluations of implementation strategies in Upward Bound and other TRIO programs. With regard to Upward Bound, the 2008 HEA requires ED to conduct an evaluation that would identify effective program or project practices while not relying on random assignment to Upward Bound program status in the evaluation design. IES is planning a rigorous quasi-experimental evaluation of implementation strategies in the Upward Bound program, and development of designs that could be used to assess implementation strategies in other TRIO programs.
The feasibility and design phase of the study will address the following research questions:
If a rigorous quasi-experimental evaluation proves feasible, then ED will conduct a full evaluation that will address the following research questions:
The design and feasibility report will examine several possible quasi-experimental designs and other designs for such an evaluation of Upward Bound, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. The report will examine the extent of meaningful variation in implementation strategies by the analysis of data collected via contractor site visits to communities served by UB projects. Given the similarity of program structures between Upward Bound and other TRIO programs and the overlapping data sets that would be used in evaluations of TRIO programs, the feasibility study will also examine the extent to which the evaluation designs developed for Upward Bound can be extended to other TRIO programs. In addition, the feasibility study will use Annual Performance Report data from TRIO grantees to examine the association between participation in Upward Bound or Upward Bound Math Science in high school and participation in Student Support Services or TRIO McNair undergraduate support programs in college.
Cost/Duration: $3,812,604 over 5 years (August 2010–August 2015)
The 21-month design and feasibility study is underway.