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ERIC Number: ED502978
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Pages: 465
Abstractor: ERIC
Early Outcomes of the GEAR UP Program. Final Report
Standing, Kim; Judkins, David; Keller, Brad; Shimshak, Amy
US Department of Education
In 1998, Congress authorized the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) program. The purpose of the program is to foster increased knowledge, expectations, and preparation for postsecondary education among low-income students and their families. GEAR UP projects may provide services to students, parents and teachers at high-poverty schools with at least 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch. Services may include: tutoring, mentoring, college field trips, career awareness, colleges-readiness counseling, classes, meetings, parent education about access to higher education, curriculum reform, and teacher training. GEAR UP is based on a model of providing services to an entire grade cohort, and grantees are required to offer services to all students in the target grade or grades according to their needs, but individual participation is voluntary. GEAR UP services must begin no later than the seventh grade. The GEAR UP model also stresses partnerships of schools, districts, community organizations and postsecondary institutions. There were two major goals of this evaluation. The first was to provide descriptive information on the early implementation of the program and the second was to observe the association between GEAR UP participation, and student and parent outcomes. Reported findings include: (1) Attending a GEAR UP school as measured near the end of eighth grade was positively associated with parents' knowledge of opportunities and benefits of postsecondary education for their children; (2) Attending a GEAR UP school as measured near the end of eighth grade was positively associated with students' knowledge concerning postsecondary education opportunities available to them; (3) Attending a GEAR UP school as measured near the end of eighth grade was positively associated with parents' involvement in the school and their children's education; (4) Attending a GEAR UP school as measured near the eighth grade was positively associated with parents' having higher academic expectations for their children; (5) There was no evidence of an association between attending a GEAR UP school and grades or school behavior, such as attendance or disciplinary problems; and (6) Attending a GEAR UP school as measured near the end of eighth grade was positively associated with taking above-grade-level science courses in middle school. Site visits to the sampled GEAR UP middle schools revealed that GEAR UP middle school staff, participating in the study focus groups, reported that GEAR UP middle schools were more likely than non-GEAR UP middle schools to offer honors and above-grade-level classes, and that most of the teachers who participated in focus groups expressed positive opinions about GEAR UP-sponsored professional development, although there was some variation in how useful or relevant teachers felt individual sessions were for them or to GEAR UP's purpose. The study also examined GEAR UP on transitioning the program to high school and sustainability beyond the federal grant. Projects reported some difficulty transitioning into high schools; such as inadequate staffing and administrative barriers, which were similar to those reported two years earlier when the grants were starting out in middle schools. Projects reporting the smoothest transitions tended to provide services to high school students that were similar to those provided to middle school students. Early evidence suggests that some aspects of GEAR UP will be sustained in middle schools beyond the period of federal funding. Eleven appendices are included: (1) Methodology for the National Evaluation of GEAR UP; (2) Student Sample Design, Imputations, Weights and Error Estimation; (3)Index Construction; (4) Index Validation Using the National Longitudinal Study (NELS:88); (5) Removal of Baseline Differences; (6) Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) Simulation Study; (7) Methodology for Analyzing Transcript Data; (8) Analysis of Standardized Test Scores; (9) Methodology for Analyzing Program Activity Records; (10) Glossary; and (11) Data Collection Instruments. (Contains 65 footnotes, 19 figures and 99 tables.)
US Department of Education. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Fax: 301-470-1244; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 7; Grade 8; High Schools; Higher Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Education (ED), Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development; Westat, Inc., Rockville, MD.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
IES Cited: ED506465