WWC review of this study

Serving community college students on probation: Four-year findings from Chaffey College’s Opening Doors program.

Weiss, M., Brock, T., Sommo, C., Rudd, T., & Turner, M. C. (2011). New York: MDRC. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED526395.pdf. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED526395

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,342
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: July 2021

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Cumulative degree-applicable GPA >2.0

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

29.90

30.50

No

--
More Outcomes

Cumulative degree-applicable GPA >2.0

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample - Original Program;
898 students

31.90

36.70

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Cumulative degree-applicable GPA >2.0

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

30.30

23.20

No

--

Cumulative degree-applicable GPA >2.0

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Original Program;
898 students

29.20

29.40

No

--
Credential attainment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earned certificate

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

1.30

0.90

No

--
Postsecondary degree attainment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Received Associate's Degree or Higher

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

5.80

5.50

No

--
Progressing in college outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Ever in good academic standing

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

30.40

15.90

Yes

--
 
More Outcomes

Average number of semesters enrolled

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample - Original Program;
898 students

2.50

2.40

No

--

Number of semesters registered

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

2.63

2.56

No

--

Ever in good academic standing

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample - Original Program;
898 students

38.80

37.80

No

--

Cumulative degree-applicable credits earned

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

5.40

5.30

No

--

Cumulative degree-applicable credits earned

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample -- Original Program;
898 students

10.70

11.50

No

--

Number of semesters enrolled at any college 4 years post randomization

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

4.18

4.06

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

In good academic standing

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

24.10

13.60

Yes

 
 
16

In good academic standing

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Original Program;
898 students

29.00

25.20

No

--

Cumulative degree-applicable credits earned

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Original Program;
898 students

3.20

3.90

No

--

Number of semesters registered

Opening Doors Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample - Enhanced Program;
444 students

1.95

1.90

No

--


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: 60%
    Male: 40%
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    California
  • Race
    Asian
    6%
    Black
    14%
    Other or unknown
    58%
    White
    23%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    53%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    47%

Setting

The intervention was implemented at Chaffey College, a two-year public college about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, California. Chaffey College enrolls nearly 18,000 students at its three campuses in Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, and Fontana.

Study sample

More women (60%) than men (40%) participated in the program. The study population skewed younger, with 59% being 18-20 years old and another 31% being 21-25 years old. Over half (53%) of participants were Hispanic, 14% were non-Hispanic Black, 23% were non-Hispanic White, and 6% were classified as Asian or Pacific Islander. Over half (51%) were financially dependent on parents, and 70% were employed.

Intervention Group

There are two versions of the intervention. The Original Opening Doors Program consisted of a one-semester “College Success” course taught by a college counselor and designed to help probationary students clarify their personal goals, understand college rules and regulations, and develop better study skills. In addition to the College Success course, students were encouraged to visit the college’s Success Centers. The instructor of the College Success course met one-on-one with students outside of class as needed. The Enhanced Opening Doors Program consisted of a two-semester College Success course taught by a college counselor, which was similar in purpose and content to the Original Opening Doors Program College Success course. In addition to the College Success course, students were required to visit the college’s Success Centers nine times. The instructor of the College Success course met one-on-one with students outside of class as needed. The main difference between the Original and Enhanced Opening Doors program is that the attendance and activities were mandatory under the Enhanced Opening Doors program.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group were still allowed to enroll in the College Success class--and about 5% did--and use the Success Centers, but they were otherwise participating in college as usual. The College Success classes were generally popular on the three campuses, but students on probation tended to be students who were less likely to use these resources.

Support for implementation

There was no notable support for implementation, but the MDRC researchers worked with administrators, faculty, and counselors to try to design a version of Opening Doors that would fit the Chaffey College context.

Reviewed: July 2016



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.
 

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