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: November 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;
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.

  • Female: 47%
    Male: 53%
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    Not Hispanic or Latino    


The Florida study was conducted in five Talent Search projects throughout the state, each including 10–20 high schools. Participants included students who entered ninth grade in 1995–96.

Study sample

The Florida study used a quasi-experimental research design. The matched sample included 900 students in the intervention group and 42,514 students in the comparison group. Propensity score modeling was used to match Talent Search participants to similar students who attended the same high schools and who were in the ninth grade in 1995–96. Matching was based on 13 demographic and academic characteristics, including whether students were economically disadvantaged, learning disabled, overage for grade, emotionally or physically disabled, or enrolled in a gifted or talented program. Students were also matched on gender, race or ethnicity, primary language spoken at home, and citizenship status. Intervention and comparison students were not statistically different from each other at the 0.05 level on any measures used in the matching procedures. However, there were statistically significant differences at the 0.10 level on two measures—language spoken at home and whether participated in a dropout prevention program. These differences were controlled for in regression models used to estimate program impacts. 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 900. Compared with all Florida high school students, participants in Talent Search were more likely to be black (46% compared with 25%) and economically disadvantaged (63% compared with 37%). They were less likely to be learning disabled (4% compared with 8%), overage for grade (10% compared with 26%), or male (34% compared with 53%). They were also less likely to be Hispanic (5% compared with 16%) or to speak a language other than English at home (3% compared with 14%).

Intervention Group

Most participants received services in their junior and senior years of high school. School and Talent Search staff recruited participants to participate.

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 Florida study—high school completion—is included in this summary. This measure represents whether sample members 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 results are not included in this report.

Support for implementation

No specific information concerning staff training was provided.


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