Title

I can do this!: How Summer Bridge Programs Empower Students To Pursue College and/or Careers

Location

Ballroom D

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

There is a growing concern nationwide regarding the large numbers of students, many from low-income communities and schools, in need of remediation in college . Developmental Summer Bridge Programs (DSBP) have become an increasingly prominent approach to strengthen student preparation, reduce the need for developmental education, and orient students to college. They offer accelerated, focused learning opportunities that can allow students to acquire sufficient knowledge to reduce or bypass their remedial coursework and place into college level courses (Ackermann, 1990; Zuniga & Stoever, 2008). This presentation will provide an overview of a DSBP model that was funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board from 2007 to 2011 and implemented at higher education institutions across Texas. This proposed session will provide an in-depth look at the DSBP components shared across four specific institutions—El Paso Community College in El Paso, Lone Star College-Kingwood in Houston, and St. Philips and Palo Alto Colleges both in San Antonio—so as to emphasize the potential of the DSBP model in providing underprepared, low-income students with academic enrichment and college knowledge . Our presentation’s focus on supporting first-generation, low-income student achievement and attainment closely aligns with strand I, “Head”: Academic Achievement and Leadership. This presentation will also present findings from a two-year follow-up study of fourteen students who participated in one of the four DSBPs the summer after they graduated high school. We will synthesize our qualitative findings to provide insights into the positive support and validation that was provided by the DSBP practitioners. Our focus on the value of this type of support to minority, low-income, and first-generation students, who can, at times, doubt their ability to fit into the college environment and do not see themselves as “college material” (Rendón, 1994), is germane to strand II, “Heart”: Social and Emotional Skills. Indeed, our findings support that faculty, administrators, and/or school personnel who implement DSBPs have the potential to provide critical validation so that students can “trust their innate capacity to learn and acquire confidence in being a college student” (Rendón, 2002, p. 645).

Brief Program Description

This presentation provides an in-depth look at a developmental summer bridge program model implemented by four community colleges in Texas and presents findings from a two-year follow-up of fourteen student participants. The presentation will also provide several concrete recommendations that could be of interest to practitioners who already implement or are considering developing similar support programs to help minority, low-income, and/or first-generation students become college and career ready.

Summary

During our presentation, we will provide an in-depth overview of the DSBP model. These summer programs ran for five to six hours a day, five days a week, for four to six weeks. They were intentionally designed to provide an array of services to remediate student knowledge and skill deficiencies and provide critical “college knowledge”. We will focus specifically on the model’s theory of change and the program components that were shared across the four community college program sites: 1) accelerated instruction in reading, writing, and mathematics, 2) assigned tutoring and structured mentoring, and 3) college knowledge workshops and seminars. During the session we will also present findings from a two-year follow-up study of fourteen students who participated in one of the four Texas DSBPs the summer after they graduated high school. Of the fourteen participants, nine were female and five were male, nine identified as Latino/a and five as African American, and nine were first-generation students. All reported receiving free or reduced lunch in high school. We will provide an update about where the students are two years following their program participation and will synthesize their narratives to illuminate the potential of DSBPs in empowering students and providing them with critical validation so that they feel confident in their ability to fit into the college environment. This validation can play a key role in a students’ ability to succeed academically, particularly for “non-traditional” students, or those who are first-generation or from underrepresented groups. Finally, we will make concrete recommendations for practitioners who are interested in implementing similar programs that can validate minority, low-income, and/or first-generation students so that they become college and career ready: 1) being intentional with program design and implementation so that program components and support structures are tailored to the needs and characteristics of the students; 2) supporting the development of peer cohort structures by facilitating team building activities and encouraging student participation in asynchronous activities outside of the program, and 3) incorporating a multiple-touch model so as to follow-up with and provide continuing support and validation to students after they leave the program. This is an element that we have largely found to be omitted or overlooked by many programs.

Evidence

Research has shown that inadequate preparation for college translates into low persistence rates, particularly for community college students (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010; Bettinger & Long, 2009; Horn & Nevill, 2006). The most current federal data indicates that more than two thirds of community college students—sixty-eight percent—take at least one remedial course after completing initial assessments in math, reading, and writing and a fraction of these students, approximately twenty-eight percent, go on to earn a degree within eight years (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010; Community College Research Center, 2014). Research has shown that developmental education may slow student academic progress, deplete eligibility for financial aid, and result in accumulation of debt. Many states have developed policies that support the development and implementation of alternative interventions to help students so that they may arrive at college better prepared. In Texas, the legislature provided funding to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to establish grants for developmental summer bridge programs (DSBP) in an attempt to remediate the high numbers of students who arrive at college underprepared. Texas is not alone in implementing these programs. DSBPs have become increasingly popular interventions across the country to strengthen student preparation, reduce the need for developmental education, and orient students to college. They offer accelerated, focused learning opportunities, delivered through myriad approaches such as workshops, classroom instruction, tutoring, and mentoring, that can allow students to acquire sufficient knowledge to reduce or bypass their remedial coursework and place into college level courses (Tierney & Hagedorn, 2002; Walpole et al., 2008). Studies that have examined the effectiveness and impact of DSBPs have found program participation to be positively related to subsequent academic performance and an improvement in academic skills, academic self-efficacy, and sense of belonging (Navarro, 2007; Strayhorn, 2011; Valeasquez, 2002; Wathington et.al., 2011). DSBPs can also allow students to develop academic self-efficacy and self-confidence in their ability to succeed at the postsecondary level. They can do this by providing critical validation. Research has shown that due to prior invalidating experiences, many non-traditional students, including minority, low-income, and first-generation students, can feel like “strangers in a strange land” and do not see themselves as “college material” (Rendón, 1994, p. 2). Validation from “institutional agents”—teachers, program administrators, and advisors—can thus allow students to feel more capable and confident in their ability to learn, and, according to Rendón (1994), is most effective for students early in their college experience such as during an orientation or summer bridge program.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Claire E. Mitchell, Ph.D., is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Education at Albion College. Her scholarly interests include secondary education curriculum and policy, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary Out-of-School-Time (OST) and enrichment programs that serve low-income and minority students. She has worked with closely with state policymakers, education agencies, and stakeholders in Michigan, Virginia, and Texas to evaluate the fidelity of implementation of different programs and policies aimed at bolstering secondary students’ career and college readiness.

Nonye M. Alozie, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Education at Albion College. Her research interests include secondary science education, science curriculum development, informal/Out-of-School Time (OST) learning that encourages youth of underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds to pursue science careers, and Biotechnology and lab-bench science professional development for teachers. She has worked with various fields and organizations (i.e. biology, chemistry, environmental science, Americorps) to design enrichment programs that promote science learning for secondary students. In addition, she has worked with closely with the Michigan Department of Education to evaluate teacher education programs using national InTASC Standards and teacher assessment frameworks.

Keyword Descriptors

developmental education, college readiness, summer bridge programs, enrichment programs

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-4-2015 9:45 AM

End Date

3-4-2015 11:00 AM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 4th, 9:45 AM Mar 4th, 11:00 AM

I can do this!: How Summer Bridge Programs Empower Students To Pursue College and/or Careers

Ballroom D

This presentation provides an in-depth look at a developmental summer bridge program model implemented by four community colleges in Texas and presents findings from a two-year follow-up of fourteen student participants. The presentation will also provide several concrete recommendations that could be of interest to practitioners who already implement or are considering developing similar support programs to help minority, low-income, and/or first-generation students become college and career ready.