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How Outreach Programs are Implemented Affects Student Achievement

wangTitle: How Outreach Programs Are Implemented Affects Students Academic Achievement

Author: Winnie Wenyi Wang

Date: March 2005

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Education has traditionally been an avenue for students to rise out of poverty. There are myriad college preparation outreach programs that target low-income, minority students. To date, there is little research evidence of the effectiveness of most outreach programs, leaving them vulnerable to budget cuts. Given the continuing under-representation of disadvantaged students in California’s universities and the amount of money that is being spent on outreach efforts, it is important to understand how outreach programs affect the academic preparation and eligibility of students applying to college.

This study found that the “fidelity” or strength of implementation of an outreach program is a more crucial factor affecting student achievement than the program’s particular content. The fidelity of program implementation was defined as the extent to which the site coordinators and advisors were able to implement the various components of the student outreach program at their school. Fidelity of program implementation significantly affected the number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken, the rate of AP courses passed, the percentage of students taking the SAT, and the number of applicants to UCLA, whereas program type affected only one variable, the mean SAT score.

The following is a list of the qualities related to program implementation that were most often mentioned in strong outreach programs, in which the K-12 schools embraced the outreach program and an effective mutually beneficial relationship was formed.

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