WWC review of this study

Stay late or start early? Experimental evidence on the benefits of college matriculation support from high schools versus colleges

Castleman, B.L., Owen, L., & Page, L.C. (2015a). Economics of Education Review, 47, 168-179. doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.05.010

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,602
     Students
    , grade
    PS
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2018

Access and enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Full sample;
1,602 students

91.7

91.8

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Male; Hispanic or Latino;
290 students

93.5

84

Yes

 
 
23

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

College-based counseling (UNM);
1,067 students

92.4

91.8

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

High school based counseling (APS);
1,063 students

90.9

91.8

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Male; Not Hispanic or Latino;
374 students

89.6

91

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Female; Hispanic or Latino;
513 students

91.9

93

No

--

Enrollment in any college in fall semester after graduating

Summer Counseling vs. Business as usual

1 Month

Female; Not Hispanic or Latino;
435 students

93.4

96

No

-13
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 1% English language learners

  • 29% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 59%
    Male: 41%
  • Race
    Asian
    5%
    Black
    2%
    White
    85%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    50%
    Not Hispanic
    50%
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    New Mexico

Setting

The study was conducted in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Outreach counseling was implemented in the summer of 2012 and was based in Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) high schools and the University of New Mexico (UNM). Findings are reported separately for each setting.

Study sample

Across the full sample (n=1,602), 40.8% of students were male, 50.1% of students were Hispanic, 2.1% of students were Black, 84.8% of students were White, 4.6% of students were Asian, 28.8% of students were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and 1.4% of students were English learners. The average high school GPA for the full sample was 3.26.

Intervention Group

The intervention was designed to support recent high school graduates, who were accepted to college, follow-through on their college plans. The researchers hired 21 school counselors, placing 8 at UNM and 13 at APS high schools where the students graduated. Counselors reached out to students via phone, email, and text message to help students complete summer tasks related to enrolling in college (e.g., finalizing financial aid, evaluating loan options, registering for orientation, and registering for academic placement tests). Supports were provided in person and over the phone and coaching contacts were documented in an online log. Overall, counselors had caseloads between 60 and 100 students, and worked 10-20 hours per week for 5-6 weeks.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group did not get outreach support from an intervention-trained counselor. These students reflect a 'business as usual' condition, and less than 1% of the comparison group met with a counselor.

Support for implementation

Prior to the start of the intervention, counselors participating in the study received training support from the study research staff which covered how to review financial letters and tuition bills and access to complete the necessary paperwork. College-based counselors also had a day-long training, on-campus orientation covering university-specific details on required summer tasks for students; the university also provided a staff liaison to answer questions from the college-based counselors.

 

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