WWC review of this study

A 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 [Florida].

Constantine, J. M., Seftor, N. S., Martin, E. S., Silva, T., & Myers, D. (2006). Report prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. for the US Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    1,800
     Students
    , grades
    11-12
Does not meet WWC standards

Reviewed: November 2016

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: December 2006

Completing school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Earned a high school diploma or GED

Talent Search vs. None

Posttest

High school students;
1,800 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
19

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 47%
    Male: 53%
  • Race
    Black
    46%
    White
    44%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    5%
    Not Hispanic
    95%
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    Florida

Setting

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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