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Developmental Summer Bridges

Developmental summer bridge (DSB) programs are designed to reduce or eliminate the need for developmental education in colleges. Students with weak academic skills in math or English are offered the opportunity to participate in an intensive, accelerated program during the summer before they begin college. DSB programs are designed to build students’ skills and to increase their knowledge of, and comfort with, the college environment. Such programs are run by numerous colleges and universities in the state of Texas and have been encouraged and sometimes funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), a partner in NCPR’s ongoing research.

In the summer of 2009, eight Texas colleges collaborated with NCPR and the THECB to study the effectiveness of their DSB programs. Using a random assignment evaluation design, those who applied for admission were selected either for the programs or the control group. All agreed to share their college records with NCPR, allowing researchers to determine whether students who enroll in the programs do better in college subsequently than those who do not. Student outcomes are being tracked through the spring of 2011.

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For more information, contact: Dr. Elisabeth A. Barnett, Senior Research Associate, NCPR, Teachers College, Columbia University: barnett@tc.edu or 212-678-3719.

ASSOCIATED PUBLICATIONS:
 
Bridging the Gap: An Impact Study of Eight Developmental Summer Bridge Programs in Texas. By: Elisabeth A. Barnett, Rachel Hare Bork, Alexander K. Mayer, Joshua Pretlow, Heather D. Wathington, and Madeline Joy Weiss, with Evan Weissman, Jedediah Teres, and Matthew Zeidenberg (June 2012).
Developmental summer bridge programs provide accelerated and focused learning opportunities in order to help recent high school graduates acquire the knowledge and skills needed for college success. This report presents findings from an experimental study of eight developmental summer bridge programs offered in Texas during the summer of 2009. The programs had a positive impact on introductory college-level course completion in math and writing in the year and a half following the program, but these effects were not statistically significant at the end of two years. There is no evidence that the programs impacted persistence or the average number of credits students attempted or earned. Full Report (PDF) | Executive Summary (PDF) | Download the Brief Version
Getting Ready for College: An Implementation and Early Impacts Study of Eight Texas Developmental Summer Bridge Programs. By: Heather D. Wathington, Elisabeth A. Barnett, Evan Weissman, Jedediah Teres, Joshua Pretlow, and Aki Nakanishi, with Matthew Zeidenberg, Madeline Joy Weiss, Alison Black, Claire Mitchell, and John Wachen (October 2011).

Developmental summer bridge programs—typically held in the summer between high school graduation and fall matriculation in college—involve intensive remedial instruction in math, reading, and/or writing and college preparation content for students entering college with low basic skills. This report presents the early findings of an evaluation of eight developmental summer bridge programs in Texas (seven at community colleges and one at an open-admissions four-year university). While program participation did not appear to increase college enrollment, there is evidence that program students were more likely to pass college-level courses in math and writing. Full Report (PDF) | Executive Summary (PDF) | Q&A | Download the Brief Version

ASSOCIATED PRESENTATIONS:

The Impact of Developmental Summer Bridge Programs on Student Success: Two-Year Findings (Download the PDF)

NCPR webinar among DSB study participants on key outcomes after two years and next steps.

Date: May 14, 2012 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: Online


Increasing Students' Chances of College Success: High School--College Partnerships and College Readiness
(Download the PDF)

NCPR session on college readiness. 

Conference: Council for the Study of Community Colleges Annual Conference
Date: April 21, 2012 8:45 - 10:15 AM
Location: Orlando, FL, Orlando Marriott World Center. Room TBA

Weighing the Evidence: Considering Three Approaches that Improve Students’ Skills (Download the PDF)

Forum looking at the question of how students can master basic skills. Three approaches are highlighted--college readiness partnerships, summer bridge programs, and learning communities--, followed by a discussion of where to invest scarce college resources.

Conference: American Association of Community Colleges 92nd Annual Convention
Date: March 5, 2012 12:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Location: Philadelphia Marriott downtown, Level 4, Room 407

Weighing the Evidence: Considering Three Approaches that Improve Students’ Skills (Download the PDF by Elisabeth Barnett and the PDF by Thomas Brock)

Forum looking at the question of how students can master basic skills. Three approaches are highlighted--college readiness partnerships, summer bridge programs,
and learning communities--, followed by a discussion of where to invest scarce college resources.

Conference: League for Innovation in the Community College Annual Conference 2012
Date: April 23, 2012, 9:15 - 10:15 AM
Location: Orlando World Center Marriott, Crystal Ballroom, Salon F

Promising Practices in Developmental Summer Bridge Programs (Download the PDF)

NCPR conference session describing developmental summer bridge programs at 8 colleges and universities in Texas.

Conference: League for Innovation in the Community College Annual Conference 2010
Date: March 29, 2010 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Grand Ballroom East and West, Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD

Developmental Summer Bridges: Young Texans on the Road to College (Download the PDF)
NCPR conference session focusing on the creation of state-supported developmental summer bridge programs in Texas.Conference: League for Innovation in the Community College Annual Conference 2009
Date: March 17, 2009 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Silver State Pavilion, Grand Sierra Hotel, Reno, NV