Thursday, May 14, 2015

Study: Good results from a support program to low-income community college students in need of developmental courses.

 What is the study about?

This study examined the effects of offering a multi-faceted support program to low-income community college students in need of developmental (remedial) courses. The City University of New York's Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) program included the following components: a requirement of full-time enrollment; consolidated block scheduling in the first year; a non-credit seminar covering topics such as goal-setting and academic planning; comprehensive student advising services, tutoring services, and career and employment services; a tuition waiver; free public transportation vouchers; and free textbooks for classes. The study reported the impact of the offer of the ASAP program on student enrollment in college, credit accumulation, completion of developmental requirements, degree attainment, and transfer from a 2-year to a 4-year institution. Program impacts were evaluated in a randomized controlled trial, in which 451 students were offered the ASAP program and 445 students were assigned to a comparison group.

What did the study report?

  • The study authors reported that there were no statistically significant differences in initial enrollment in college (enrollment was 97% for the intervention group and 94% for the comparison group). 
  • However, the ASAP program showed a statistically significant impact on college-level credit accumulation over the 3 years of the study, with ASAP students accumulating an average of 43 college-level credits, compared to 35 credits for comparison group students. 
  • A significantly higher proportion of ASAP students completed their developmental requirements over the course of the study (75% for ASAP students vs. 57% for comparison students). 
  • In addition, ASAP students were significantly more likely to attain a degree from any college (40% vs. 22%) or transfer to a 4-year college (25% vs. 17%) during the 3-year study period. These statistics were drawn from Tables 4.2–4.4 and from Appendix Table C.1.

How does the WWC rate this study?

This study is a randomized controlled experiment with no attrition, and as such, meets WWC group design standards without reservations.


Scrivener, S., Weiss, M. J., Ratledge, A., Rudd, T., Sommo, C., & Fresques, H. (2015). Doubling graduation rates: Three-year effects of CUNY's Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for developmental education students. New York: MDRC.

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