The evaluation identified 10 states to represent all locations implementing the College Readiness Program (CRP): CA, GA, IL, LA, MI, MO, ND, OH, PA, TX. Within each state, the evaluation recruited one to three districts, focusing on districts with high schools that served a socioeconomically disadvantaged population of students and offered few or no advanced placement (AP) courses.
Information on the characteristics of the sample -- race, gender, free/reduced price lunch status -- is not included in the description of the sample.
The objective of the College Readiness Program (CRP) is to increase the number of high-need students enrolling in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and taking and earning qualifying scores on math, science, and English language arts AP exams, with a focus on math and science. CRP provides (1) supports to teachers, such as course-specific training, mentorship, resources, and awards, (2) supports to students, such as focused study sessions, equipment and supplies, exam fee subsidies, and student awards, and (3) supports to schools, such as performance analysis, access to academic and program experts, shared goal setting, and school awards. Through these supports, it is hypothesized that teachers will become more effective AP instructors and schools will exhibit a culture of continuous improvement where STEM learning is valued, resulting in an increased number of students taking STEM AP courses and exams and receiving qualifying scores on AP exams.
The schools in the experimental comparison condition received delayed treatment. During the 2016-17 school year, these comparison schools did not have access to the CRP program. Instead, students in the comparison schools only had access to the AP courses offered as part of the standard school/district approach. After outcomes data for the experimental study were collected, comparison schools received access to the CRP program, first implementing the program components in the 2017-18 school year.
Support for implementation
School administrators received a financial stipend and incentive payments for student performance on AP exams, as well as funding to purchase equipment and supplies, and support from program staff to set goals for increased student enrollment and performance in AP courses.