An evaluative study of the University of South Alabama's first upward bound summer program



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In the decade of the 1960's three deliberate social policies brought new post-secondary educational opportunities to millions of high school graduates. One of these was the Educational Amendments Act of 1964 authorizing the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to improve post-secondary educational opportunities to individuals from socio-economic groups previously under-represented in post-secondary education. It was from this Act that the Upward Bound Program was established. Under the provisions of the Federal Guidelines governing the Upward Bound (UB) Program, any institution of post-secondary education could compete for a totally Federally gunded grant award for a UB program. The target population for participation in the Program was to be those students from low income families, who were educationally and culturally disadvantaged due to the inequities of the public school systems, but who also possessed the potential to succeed in an institution of post-secondary education. The typical UB Program is divided into two phases: the Academic Year Phase and the Summer Residency Phase. During the Academic Year Phase the UB students meet on Saturdays (approximately 25 between September and May) to attend remediative classes, receive tutoring and counseling, and when available participate in cultural activities. During the Summer Residency Phase, the UB student receives the same services as during the Academic Year Phase, however, he lives in the dormitories of the host institution for a six-week period. Because the main objective of the UB Program is to remediate deficiencies and motivate the student to continue his education beyond high school, and because the aforementioned activities of the program are intensified during the Summer Phase, the Summer Phase can be considered as the very backbone of the UB Program and the success it is to have with its students. For this reason, this study is designed to investigate the seven most important segments of the University of South Alabama's first UB Summer Residency Phase. These segments are 1) Academic Performance and Student Attitudes, 2) Course Ratings, 3) Study Skills, 4) the Counseling Component, 5) Faculty Evaluation of the Curricular Offerings, 6) the Tutorial Program, and 7) the Departmental Presentation/Discussion Series. The sample consists of the forty-two students who participated in the first USA UB Summer Residency Program. The investigation itself is based on data that were systematically gathered from the UB students, tutors, faculty members. and counselors at various stages during the six week period. The data consists mainly of the resulrs of tests and evaluations, both standardized (Nelson Denny Reading Test, Iowa Silent Reading Test, the Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes, the Illinois Course Evaluation Questionnaire, and the Counseling Evaluation Inventory) and instructor/staff developed, as well as a series of questionnaires and structured rating scales that were administered at the beginning, during and at the end of the six week period. The function of this evaluative investigation is essentially one of fact finding and actuarial reporting of these facts. Although certain inferences will be drawn and derivative recommendations made, the distinction between a rigorously controlled research study and the evaluation of an operational program under naturalistic conditions must be emphasized.