The Root Cause Blog
23 Jul

Insights from Assessments of 15 College Access and Success Organizations

We are pleased to share Root Cause's first "Report for Funders" on the Peer Performance Exchange (the Exchange), which highlights the results from our assessment of the 15 College Access and Persistence programs we analyzed between September 2013 and January 2014. This report summarizes key strengths about this cohort at an organizational and programmatic level, and includes opportunities for investment. (Click here to view the full report.)

The cohort was comprised of members from Massachusetts, New York and California. Although the programs differed significantly from one another, they all offered very strong programs to youth preparing for and persisting through college:

  • 80 percent of the college access programs build college aspirations through annual college visits and college focused extracurricular activities.
  • 100 percent of the college persistence programs offer freshmen assistance with financial aid as well as assistance with post-graduation career preparation.

There were also clear best practices on which members could focus. Only 20 percent of college access programs offer services to help youth strengthen their math and English skills. Of the college persistence programs, only 50 percent ensure students take remedial courses before or during the first year, which is related to the fact that only 33 percent conduct aptitude tests for their participants.

On an organizational level, members scored high on management team, staff abilities and board governance, but need to develop robust strategic plans to help them execute on goals. We also found the strongest correlation between programs with strong performance measurement system and high performance; however, a mere 20 percent of members use a consistent system for data collection and analysis.

In September, new College Access and Persistence programs and Youth Career Development programs will join the Exchange, increasing the opportunities for peers to learn about best practices from one another. Please contact Anne Radday at 617.649.1536 or to learn more about the Exchange and the benefits of participation.