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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Study of the Implementation of the Ramp-Up to Readiness Program


Description: Nearly all high school students (97 percent) plan to go to college, yet many fewer (75 percent) enroll in college and fewer still (45 percent) ultimately succeed in college. To increase the rate of college application, enrollment, and success, most high schools use the traditional approach: providing one-on-one counseling—outside of the classroom—to students at students' initiative. High school counselors, however, often have heavy case loads and job duties unrelated to college counseling.

Ramp-Up to Readiness (Ramp-Up) takes a comprehensive, proactive approach to college counseling by incorporating teacher-led advisories on multiple dimensions of college readiness into school activities for all students in Grades 9–12 throughout the school year. A general question related to intensive comprehensive programs at the secondary level (such as Ramp-Up) is whether such programs can be implemented with fidelity. This study will examine whether schools are able to implement Ramp-Up with fidelity and whether the core components of Ramp-Up (e.g., college readiness-related activities, services, and resources) also are found in schools not implementing Ramp-Up.

Research Questions: The study addresses three general questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of the schools implementing Ramp-Up to Readiness? Do college readiness-related actions differ for key student subgroups within Ramp-Up schools?
  2. To what extent are the core components of Ramp-Up implemented as intended by the program developer?
  3. How does Ramp-Up differ from college readiness-related supports (e.g., programs, services, activities, and resources) in non-Ramp-Up schools?

Study Design: This study will collect data from students and school staff at 22 high schools: 11 that are implementing Ramp-Up in 2013–14 and 11 that will delay implementation until 2014–15. Research Question 1 will be addressed using demographic and geographic administrative data. The analysis will compare student subgroups on measures related to college readiness. For Research Questions 2 and 3, data will be collected from surveys, focus groups, and extant documents. Using a coding rubric, data will be coded and indices will be calculated to show the extent to which schools implement the program as intended and the strength of the intervention compared to the college readiness supports offered in schools that are delaying intervention.

Projected Release Date: Summer 2016

Research Alliance: College and Career Success Research Alliance, REL Midwest

Keywords: Counseling; Transition to College or Career; College Readiness, College Access, Application, and Admission; Minnesota; Implementation Fidelity

Study Related Products: What's Happening report
Stated Briefly report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation: