Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Amy Dolan

Second Advisor

Katie Busby

Third Advisor

David Rock

Abstract

Summer bridge programs (SBPs) are a popular programmatic intervention of colleges and universities to assist students with the transition from high school to college and provide students with the academic and social tools they need to be successful. Despite their popularity, a survey of relevant literature indicated that bridge programs are not routinely evaluated to measure their effectiveness. This study sought to contribute to the body of existing literature by evaluating the effectiveness of the University of Mississippi’s (UM) JumpStart Summer Bridge Program and its impact on student success outcomes, including GPA, institutional retention, and degree completion, to establish concrete actionable data for program staff and university administrators. Data was retrieved from the Office of Institutional Research Effectiveness and Planning (IREP), the Office of the Registrar, and the Office of Pre-College Programs. IREP provided the data file for the 2013-2016 freshman cohorts, which included first-semester grade point average, first-year grade point average, retention status, completion status, and JumpStart participation, demographic information, and pre-college academic performance. To address the study’s research questions, a series of t-tests were conducted to examine differences in first-semester GPA, first-year GPA, and retention and completion for JumpStart participants and non-participants. Logistic regression was used for the analyses of predictors of retention and four-year graduation. Key findings of the study included: (a) Jumpstart participants earned significant lower first-semester and first-year GPAs than non-participants; however, participants also entered UM with significantly lower high school GPA and ACT composite scores; (b) logistic regression analysis showed JumpStart to be a significant, positive predictor of retention to spring semester; (c) females, Black/African American, Other Minorities, and resident students were retained to spring semester at a significantly higher rate than freshmen who did not participate in JumpStart; and (d) Black/African American JumpStart participants earned a significantly higher first-year GPA; further, retention rates for Black/African American JumpStart participants were significantly higher in spring semester, year two, and year three. Further research is needed to examine program outcomes over a longer period of time and through additional quantitative and qualitative methods that take into account the lived program experience from the student perspective.

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