A report issued today by ACT, Inc. indicates Career & College Clubs, a middle school peer-to-peer intervention, increases the likelihood at-risk students will make specific plans to succeed in high school and postsecondary education.
ACT, Inc., the organization that administers the ACT college placement exam, analyzed 1,200 middle school students who participated in the Career & College Clubs program.
Among other findings, their report shows that compared to a nationwide sample of at-risk students, students who participate directly in Career & College Clubs are more likely to plan on taking a college-prep curriculum in high school, and are more likely to aspire to a four year postsecondary degree. Following the program, these students’ aspirations exceed not just other at-risk students’ aspirations, but all students’ aspirations on these two measures.
Findings also show that the program has a positive impact on school culture. For schools that participated in the program for more than one year, there are statistically significant, school-wide increases in the percentage of students planning to take a college-prep curriculum in high school, as well as the percentage of students planning to go college.
Those results are particularly exciting, given that a high percentage of the program’s participants are traditionally underrepresented in higher education: 91% of Career & College Clubs’ students are from racial/ethnic minorities. Working with underrepresented students is a central strategy for increasing the number of adults in the U.S. who successfully complete postsecondary education.
“Based on this initial review, the program shows promise in getting at-risk students to take actions that would increase their chances of college and career success. Additional research is needed, but these are very positive results,” said James Sconing the principal investigator from ACT who performed the analysis.
“The external validation by ACT is a welcome boost to our efforts,” said Quentin Wilson, President and CEO of ALL Management Corporation, the nonprofit company that runs the program.
“Anecdotally, we knew Career & College Clubs was having an impact, but this is hard data that proves we are helping at-risk young people succeed. In the coming years, we will build upon these results to sustain the students’ progress, while partnering with others to expand the program for wider impact.”
Career & College Clubs is an initiative of ALL Management Corporation, a California nonprofit organization. It is focused exclusively on educating middle school students with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to succeed in high school, college, and life. Established five years ago, Career & College Clubs was adopted by more than 160 California middle schools in the 2012-2013 academic year.