WWC review of this study

College Graduation Rates for Minority Students in a Selective Technical University: Will Participation in a Summer Bridge Program Contribute to Success?

Murphy, Terrence E.; Gaughan, Monica; Hume, Robert; Moore, S. Gordon, Jr. (2010). Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, v32 n1 p70-83. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ880616

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grade

Reviewed: July 2016

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Attainment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement


Summer bridge programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

College students;
2,222 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 33%
    Male: 67%
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The study took place at a selective technical university in the southeastern United States.

Study sample

The analytic sample included 770 students who participated in the summer bridge program and 1,452 students who did not enroll in the program. Demographically, 38% of the intervention group and 31% of the comparison group were female. The percentage of African-American participants was 80% in the intervention group and 56% in the comparison group. The median neighborhood household income for participants in the intervention group was $46,646 (in 2000 dollars) and $49,450 for those in the comparison group. Baseline equivalence of the intervention and comparison groups was established for the following student characteristics specified in the review protocol: students’ high-school grade point average and median household income.

Intervention Group

The summer bridge program was implemented in the summer before postsecondary enrollment and delivered over the course of 5 weeks in June and July. The program included an academic component and a social component. The academic component included short courses in calculus, chemistry, computer science, and English composition. This coursework was not credit-bearing but was equivalent to the content of freshman-level courses. Participants were graded on their coursework. The intervention also included peer educators or coaches. These were more advanced students who were leaders on campus and who made themselves available to the intervention participants. The social component of the intervention involved integrating families by having family support sessions and awards luncheons that included family members.

Comparison Group

Students assigned to the comparison group did not participate in the summer bridge program, but received standard services as usual. Students were free to participate in any other standard university services.

Support for implementation

The researchers did not report any information on support for implementation.


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