Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Spring 2018 Conference, Washington, D.C.
February 28-March 3, 2018
Presentation Title: "EASEing Students into College: The Impact of Multidimensional Support for Underprepared Students"
Authors: Sabrina Solanki, Di Xu, Peter McPartlan, Brian Sato
An extensive theoretical literature and qualitative evidence nominates learning communities as a promising strategy to improve persistence and success among at-risk populations in STEM fields by better engaging them both academically and socially. Yet, rigorous quantitative evidence on the impacts of these programs is limited. This paper estimates the causal effects of a first-year learning community program ---Enhanced Academic Success Experience initiative (EASE) ---provided to freshmen majored in Biological Sciences at a large public Hispanic-serving institution. The key methodological strategy used is a regression discontinuity design based on the fact that students assigned to the program fall below an SAT-math threshold. The promising results on both academic and non-academic outcomes provide compelling evidence that cohort programs can provide effective support to at-risk populations when implemented with high level of fidelity