CollegeSpring’s First Formative Evaluation

For the second Data & Impact blog post, I wanted to give an update on one of our major projects. We are currently in the middle of our first formative evaluation. This project started in May 2014 and will wrap up in December 2015. Along with our consultant, JT Taylor, Director of Research and Evaluation and Senior Consultant at Learning for Action, we are investigating a series of interrelated research questions of pressing importance to CollegeSpring programs.

  1. For which students is CollegeSpring most effective? Least effective?
  1. What are the barriers and facilitators of successful post-program SAT completion, college application, and college matriculation for CollegeSpring students?
  1. What are the characteristics of the most effective CollegeSpring instructors and mentors?
  1. What are the relative student benefits of the mentoring component of the CollegeSpring program beyond the benefits of classroom instruction?
  1. Which of the primary sources of variability in program implementation are most strongly related to student outcomes?

We will use the results from this evaluation to inform program design, implementation, and strategy. Here are some things we have already learned from the formative evaluation:

  • CollegeSpring instructors can help students increase their SAT scores significantly regardless of their content expertise. Going through CollegeSpring training and the support CollegeSpring staff give to instructors plays a big role in instructors’ impact on students.
  • Different CollegeSpring mentors do a good job of helping different CollegeSpring students. Mentors who have especially strong academic backgrounds are highly effective with students who need strong tutoring support. Mentors who have similar personal experiences to students are highly effective with students who need to learn more about the importance of college for their future.

The final report from the formative evaluation will be released in early 2016.