WWC review of this study

An on-ramp to student success: A randomized controlled trial evaluation of a developmental education reform at the City University of New York.

Weiss, M. J., Scrivener, S., Slaughter, A., & Cohen, B. (2021). MDRC. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED611772

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    3,835
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: September 2021

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

Degree or Certificate Completion

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

6 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

14.50

11.40

Yes

 
 
7
 
College enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

college enrollment in any college

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
3,835 students

67.80

64.80

Yes

 
 
3
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

college enrollment in any college

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

60.50

55.60

Yes

 
 
5

college enrollment in any college

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

49.10

46.00

No

--

college enrollment in any college

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

44.90

43.30

No

--

college enrollment in any college

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

39.80

38.80

No

--
College readiness outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College ready in all 3 subject areas

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

48.90

25.30

Yes

 
 
24
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

College ready in math

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

61.40

34.70

Yes

 
 
25

College ready in all 3 subject areas

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

54.00

32.70

Yes

 
 
20

College ready in all 3 subject areas

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

56.60

37.90

Yes

 
 
18

College ready in all 3 subject areas

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

58.30

41.70

Yes

 
 
16

College ready in all 3 subject areas

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

59.70

43.80

Yes

 
 
15

Number of college-ready subject areas (out of 3)

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

2.07

1.68

Yes

 
 
14

College ready in writing

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

69.40

61.70

Yes

 
 
8

College ready in reading

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

76.10

71.80

Yes

 
 
5
Progressing in college outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Completed both gateway courses

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

13.20

6.90

Yes

 
 
17
More Outcomes

Cumulative college-level credits earned

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

6 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

22.37

21.02

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Completed both gateway courses

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

22.90

14.10

Yes

 
 
14

Completed gatekeeper math course (with C or higher)

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

18.90

12.40

Yes

 
 
12

Completed both gateway courses

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

3 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

29.30

20.40

Yes

 
 
11

Completed gatekeeper English course (with C or higher)

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
3,835 students

35.40

28.70

Yes

 
 
7

Completed both gateway courses

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

4 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

34.30

28.00

Yes

 
 
7

Completed both gateway courses

CUNY Start vs. Business as usual

5 Semesters

Full sample;
3,835 students

37.20

31.80

Yes

 
 
6


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: 48%
    Male: 52%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    New York
  • Race
    Asian
    9%
    Black
    25%
    Other or unknown
    60%
    White
    6%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    36%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    64%

Setting

The study was based in four City University of New York (CUNY) campuses in New York City: Borough of Manhattan Community College, Kingsborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and Queensborough Community College. These colleges were selected because they had each operated the CUNY Start program for at least two years, had adequate program infrastructure to continue operation, and were willing to participate in the study. The program was housed in each college's continuing education division.

Study sample

Of a total of 3,835 students, 3,021 were assigned to the intervention (CUNY Start) condition and 852 were assigned to the comparison condition. The analytic sample included 2,997 students in the intervention condition and 838 students in the comparison condition. The sample has the following characteristics: 25% Black, 9% Asian, and 6% White. Almost half of the students were female (48%) and 36% were Hispanic. Nearly half (48%) of the students were 19 or younger, while just under one-fourth were 24 or older. A little over one-half (54.5%) of participating students had applied for financial aid.

Intervention Group

CUNY Start is a full-time, one-semester program for students who have been assessed as having significant remedial needs. The program was designed for incoming students who need remediation in math, reading, and writing. The program's short-term goal is to help students fulfill their developmental education requirements, while preparing them for college-level courses. The long-term goal is to improve academic outcomes, including graduation rates. CUNY Start students pay only $75 for the semester, which includes the cost of all course materials. Because the program is offered prior to matriculation, students preserve their financial aid for future semesters. The program uses a cohort model in which students co-enroll in math, reading, and writing courses - and is time intensive, enabling students to complete remedial requirements in a single semester. The program provides up to 26.5 hours of instruction per week.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition could receive all regular college services and participate in all regular college activities except for CUNY Start.

Support for implementation

Training for CUNY Start instructors includes a semester-long apprenticeship and training before they begin teaching. Instructors receive ongoing training and feedback while they are teaching.

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top