Reviewed: December 2006
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.
English language learners
| Not Hispanic
The Texas study was conducted in 10 Talent Search projects (each including 10–20 high schools) and included participants who entered ninth grade in 1995–96.
The Texas study used a quasi-experimental research design. The sample included 4,027 students in the intervention group and 30,842 students in the comparison group.
Propensity score modeling was used to match Talent Search students to comparison students who attended the same high schools and who were in the ninth grade in the
1995–96 school year. Matching was based on 18 demographic and academic characteristics, including students’ eighth-grade test scores, race or ethnicity, socioeconomic
status, English proficiency, special education status, and enrollment in vocational education programs. There were no statistically significant differences between the
intervention group and the matched comparison group on the baseline characteristics used in the matching procedures. A Talent Search student could be matched to multiple
comparison students. Weights were used to account for the closeness of the match—with closer matches receiving larger weights. In addition, the comparison sample was
weighted to equal the size of the treatment group so as not to overstate statistical significance. So, the intervention and comparison groups each had an effective sample size
of about 4,000.
Compared with all Texas high school students, Talent Search participants were more likely to be female (62% compared with 47%), economically disadvantaged (51%
compared with 38%), and black or Hispanic (73% compared with 53%). Talent Search students were less likely than other high school students in the state to be behind grade
level (16% compared with 29%), to be receiving special education services (5% compared with 12%), or to score in the bottom quartile on standardized tests (22% compared
with 27% for math and 20% compared with 27% for reading).
Most participants received services in their junior and senior years of high school. Participants were either recruited to participate or volunteered to be in the program.
Comparison group students did not participate in Talent Search and attended the same high schools as students in the intervention group.
One relevant outcome from the Texas study—high school completion rates—is included in this summary. This measure represents whether students earned a high school
diploma or received a GED certificate. (See Appendix A2 for a more detailed description of this outcome measure.) The study also examined the program’s effects on financial
aid receipt and college enrollment. However, these outcomes do not fall within the three domains (staying in school, progressing in school, and completing school) examined by
the WWC’s review of dropout prevention interventions. Therefore, these additional outcomes are not included in this report.
Support for implementation
No specific information concerning staff training was provided.