WWC review of this study

Study of the Effect of the Talent Search Program on Secondary and Postsecondary Outcomes in Florida, Indiana and Texas. Final Report from Phase II of the National Evaluation

Constantine, Jill M.; Seftor, Neil S.; Martin, Emily Sama; Silva, Tim; Myers, David (2006). US Department of Education. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED493358

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades

Reviewed: September 2016

Does not meet WWC standards

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

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: December 2006

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

Earned a high school diploma or GED

Talent Search vs. None


High school students;
8,054 students





Earned a high school diploma or GED

Talent Search vs. None


High school students;
1,800 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.

  • 8% English language learners

  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%
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    Not Hispanic or Latino    


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.

Study sample

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).

Intervention Group

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

Comparison group students did not participate in Talent Search and attended the same high schools as students in the intervention group.

Outcome descriptions

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.


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