Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Dwight Varnum

Abstract

Summer bridge programs (SBPs) have been used as a means of increasing students' college readiness and academic skills. University Southeast implemented a SBP in 2013 for students placing into developmental courses on the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA). However, researchers have found mixed results when evaluating the effectiveness of SBPs, and at University Southeast, it has not been investigated. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the difference in TSIA score gains between first-time-in-college students with developmental-level test scores who attended a three-week SBP and those who did not. Tinto's longitudinal model of student departure guided the study examining how university-provided support may increase a student's skills and abilities before the start of college. The research questions focused on the gain scores on TSIA math, reading, and writing pre- and posttests for first-time-in-college students completing the SBP and a control group not participating in the SBP and taking the TSIA a second time. A total of 769 archived test scores from 2014 and 2015 were analyzed using an independent-samples t test. Data analysis found significant gains only in the area of TSIA math, which suggests that college administrators reevaluate the use of SBPs. This study contributes to positive social change because it provides research-based data to administrators of the local SBP and demonstrates the need to explore options that will increase college readiness while ensuring that institutional funds are being used effectively.