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Impacts of Ramp-Up to Readiness™ after one year of implementation

Region:
Midwest
Description:

This study examined whether the Ramp-Up to Readiness program (Ramp-Up) produced impacts on high school students' college enrollment actions and personal college readiness following one year of program implementation. The study also looked at Ramp-Up's impact on more immediate outcomes, such as the emphasis placed on college readiness and the amount of college-related teacher-student interactions taking place in high schools. The impacts were studied in context by assessing the degree to which schools were implementing Ramp-Up to the developer's satisfaction. Forty-nine Minnesota and Wisconsin high schools were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) the Ramp-Up group that would implement the program during the 2014–15 school year (25 schools), or (2) the comparison group that would implement Ramp-Up the following school year, 2015–16 (24 schools). The researchers collected data from students and school staff during the fall of 2014, before program implementation and during the spring of 2015 after one year of implementation. The study team administered surveys to staff, surveys to students in grades 10–12, and the commitment to college and goal striving scales from ACT's ENGAGE instrument. Researchers also obtained extant student-level data from the high schools and school-level data from their respective state education agencies. The outcomes of most interest were students' submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and their scores on the two ENGAGE scales. Data indicated that following a single year of implementation, Ramp-Up had no impact on grade 12 students' submission rates for the FAFSA or on the commitment to college and goal striving of students in grades 10–12. However, the program did produce greater emphasis on college-readiness and more student-teacher interactions related to college. Implementation data showed mixed results: on average, Ramp-Up schools implemented the program with adequate fidelity, but some schools struggled with implementation and 88 percent of schools did not adequately implement the planning tools component of the program. Schools implementing Ramp-Up demonstrated a greater emphasis on college-readiness than comparison schools, but a single year of program exposure is insufficient to produce greater college readiness among students or FAFSA submissions among grade 12 students. Schools that adopt Ramp-Up can implement the program as intended by the program developer, but some program components are more challenging to implement than others. Additional studies need to examine Ramp-Up's impact on students' college enrollment actions, their college admission rates, and their success in college following multiple years of program exposure. Studies also should investigate whether implementation gets stronger in subsequent years as schools gain more experience with Ramp-Up's curriculum and processes.

Publication Type:
Making an Impact
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
March 2017
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