WWC review of this study

Escalating gains: The elements of Project QUEST’s success

Roder, A., & Elliott, M. (2018). Economic Mobility Corporation.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    343
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: August 2021



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: March 2021

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Industry-recognized credential, certificate, or license completion outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earned a vocational certificate or license 6 years post randomization

QUEST vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
343 students

72.60

49.10

Yes

 
 
23
 
Medium-Term Earnings outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Average Total Earnings Year 3 (quarters 8-11)

QUEST vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
343 students

24818.00

20773.00

No

--
Medium-Term Employment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Employed year-round three years post intervention

QUEST vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
343 students

66.60

59.20

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Employed any time during the 5th year post random assignment.

QUEST vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
343 students

87.00

83.00

No

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

Earned a college degree

QUEST vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
343 students

18.20

26.30

No

--
Short-Term Earnings outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Average Total Earnings - Year 1

QUEST vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
343 students

18194.00

15908.00

No

--
Short-Term Employment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Employed year-round one year post the intervention

QUEST vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
343 students

48.20

55.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Employed any time during the 3rd year post random assignment

QUEST vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
343 students

85.00

87.00

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: 90%
    Male: 11%
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    Texas
  • Race
    Black
    13%
    Other or unknown
    74%
    White
    10%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    74%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    26%

Setting

QUEST provided support and resources to students who had completed a high school diploma or equivalent, or for students who have earned a college degree in a different field. The program serves job seekers in the San Antonio, Texas area. The job seekers had to intend to enroll in vocational school or other similar health career programs (I.e., nursing, medical records coding, or technician programs).

Study sample

At program entry, 89.5% of participants were female. 74.3% were Latino, 13.1% were African American, and 9.6% were White. 29.4% of participants were aged 18 to 24, 44.9% were 25 to 34, and 25.7% were 35 to 64. 72.0% of participants had any children under age 18. 29.4% of participants were married, 26.2% were separated/divorced/widowed, and 44.3% were never married. The highest degree earned for 24.8% was a GED, 70.6% was a high school diploma, and 4.7% was a college degree. 46.4% of participants attended college but did not earn a degree. 20.1% had any health-care certificates or licenses. 84.4% of participants had been employed at any time during the past year, 41.5% were employed during all 12 months of the past year, and the average annual earnings of all participants in the past year were $11,387.

Intervention Group

QUEST provides several support services aimed at helping individuals to 1) complete training programs at community colleges and professional training institutes, 2) pass certification exams, and 3) secure relevant employment. Participants received financial assistance to cover tuition, fees, books, transportation, uniforms, licensing exam fees, and tutoring. They received remedial instruction to improve math and reading skills to pass college placement tests. They received counseling to address personal and academic concerns, provide motivation and emotional support, and were referred to other agencies for assistance with utility bills, child care, food, and other services as needed. Participants were invited to weekly meetings that focused on life skills, including time management, study skills, critical thinking, and conflict resolution. Attendance was required at these meetings continue receiving support. They also received job placement assistance, including help with writing resumes and interviewing, and they received referrals to employers that were hiring.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was business as usual. Comparison participants did not receive any of the benefits of the QUEST program, but they were told that they could enroll in training programs or college, or they could find jobs on their own.

Support for implementation

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Roder, A., & Elliott, M. (2019). Nine year gains: Project QUEST’s continuing impact. Economic Mobility Corporation. Retrieved from https://economicmobilitycorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NineYearGains_web.pdf

  • Elliott, M., & Roder, A. (2017). Escalating gains: Project QUEST’s sectoral strategy pays off. Economic Mobility Corporation. https://economicmobilitycorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Escalating-Gains_WEB.pdf

 

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