*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The study examines two broader categories of college access programs: pre-packaged whole school reform efforts; and supplementary services provided at the student level. The synthesis includes interventions that explicitly identified increasing college readiness and/or college enrollment as a primary goal of the program, were fielded since 1990, in the United States or in a country with a comparable education system, and targeted students in grades 6-12. Focal outcomes include math achievement, language arts achievement, high school coursework completion, high school graduation, and college enrollment.
The synthesis includes only findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and well-controlled quasi-experimental design (QED) studies. Among the criteria for well-controlled quasi-experimental designs is establishment of baseline equivalence between the treatment and comparison groups in the analytic sample. RCTs with high attrition are treated like QED studies. Studies were identified through structured searches of electronic databases and the internet and through hand searching of journals. Studies were individually reviewed, coded, and effect size estimates were extracted for each outcome measure.
Among the findings are that, on average, those college access programs that have been rigorously evaluation show evidence of increasing high school graduation rates, although the results based on only randomized controlled trials are decidedly less favorable than those based on the QEDs. The estimated effects on college enrollment are positive and significant irrespective of evaluation design.