Thursday, March 2, 2017

Impact of the Ramp-Up to Readiness™ Program on Students’ College Readiness and College Enrollment

Ramp-Up to Readiness is a schoolwide college readiness program geared to middle and high school students. Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest examined the program’s impact on student outcomes after one year of implementation using a randomized controlled trial involving 49 high schools in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The study also provides information on how Ramp-Up differs from college-related supports in other schools and the degree to which Ramp-Up has been implemented with fidelity.

The study’s main findings are:

•    After the first year of implementation, students in Ramp-Up schools and students in comparison schools had similar levels of personal college readiness, and were equally likely to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to submit at least one college application.

•    While Ramp-Up schools and comparison schools offered the same types of supplemental college-readiness supports, staff in Ramp-Up schools engaged in more college-readiness activity than did staff in comparison schools. Students in Ramp-Up schools perceived a greater emphasis among staff on two of the five dimensions of college readiness (admissions readiness and financial readiness) than did students in comparison schools.

•    When averaged across program components, 96 percent of Ramp-Up schools’ implementation scores were adequate. However only 3 of the 25 Ramp-Up schools adequately implemented all of the program’s key components, suggesting that Ramp-Up schools need to improve implementation to produce the program’s intended impacts.

The findings may offer school districts and policymakers insight on the impacts they can expect after a single year of implementation for students in grades 10–12, how Ramp-Up complements other college-readiness approaches, and how well schools implemented Ramp-Up in the first year. Future studies could examine whether Ramp-Up has an impact on student outcomes following multiple years of program exposure.

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