Original Goals of the Study

The primary goals of the study are to create a framework that enables the evaluation of outreach programs by proving, disproving and qualifying the nine propositions; to look at how effective criteria are structured and delivered, to analyze their impact on program success and examine their relative costs; to evaluate why certain criteria are not effective; and to impact policy and practice by creating a "scorecard" to be used by college preparation program practitioners and their funders as a way to determine the success of particular programs.

Original Project Design

Qualitative research will produce fine-grained data aimed at assessing the effectiveness of college outreach programs. The units of analysis for the study are MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) programs in California. The MESA program was chosen because its mission encompasses the nine scorecard propositions, the participants in the program represent a diverse demographic mix, and the program is implemented in all segments of primary, secondary and higher education. The three-year project encompasses the following research components:

  1. Literature review: A literature review will be conducted pertaining to the nine propositions.
  2. Six longitudinal, cross-site case studies: Staff, teachers and students at each site will be observed and interviewed six to ten times during the course of the year. Students will be tracked in order to follow their post secondary education paths.
  3. Supplemental interviews: Influential, non-academic networks will be studied by interviewing family members, community organizations, peers, and other interested stakeholders.
  4. Organizational documentation and program resource costs tracking: Case histories on each program participant and budget templates on case income, expenditures, and in-kind contributions will be created in order to analyze the cost effectiveness of program components.
  5. Cultural biographies: Life histories will be conducted in order to gain insight into the dynamics that contribute to success or failure of students in outreach programs.




2002 Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis all rights reserved
Location: Waite Phillips Hall, Room 701 Phone: (213) 740-7218 Fax: (213) 740-3889 Email: chepa@usc.edu