A Good Start? The Impact of Texas' Developmental Summer Bridge Program on Student Success
Wathington, H., Pretlow, J., & Barnett, E. (2016). A Good Start? The Impact of Texas' Developmental Summer Bridge Program on Student Success. Journal of Higher Education, 87(2), 150-177. DOI: 10.1080/00221546.2016.11777398
Summer bridge programs have long been utilized by postsecondary institutions to improve the college readiness of students; however, the research on their effectiveness is limited. This study presents evidence from an experimental study of one summer bridge program model specifically designed for recent high school graduates who placed into developmental education. The program took place at eight open access colleges in Texas during the summer of 2009, and participants were followed for two academic years. To provide needed context, we first describe site selection, random assignment, and program implementation. Quantitative results indicate that the program had no effect on the average number of credits attempted and earned or student persistence in postsecondary education. The program did have an impact on first college-level course completion in math (p <0.05) and to a lesser extent writing (p <0.10); there was no impact on first college-level course completion in reading. Our findings are consistent with those of other rigorously evaluated programs for developmental education students and suggest that persistence in postsecondary education is a complex issue that cannot be solved with any one program.