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Past Projects

Syracuse University GEAR UP Summer Program Evaluation (2009)

The University College at Syracuse University (www.suce.syr.edu) teamed up with the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) (www.syracusecityschools.com) to implement GEAR UP Fridays, a SyracuseUniversitysummer program for low-income high school students. The GEAR UP summer program, funded by the US Department of Education's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), was held at a local SCSD school and took place over four consecutive Fridays in July and August of 2009. The goal of GEAR UP Friday was to excite and motivate students to partake in future GEAR UP activities while providing them with information regarding post-secondary educational options and financial awareness. GEAR UP Fridays encompassed activities focused on financial literacy, college education, conflict resolution and goal accomplishment. Students participated in weekly verbal blend workshops which led up to a poetry slam assembly which took place on the final Friday of the summer program. The ultimate goal of GEAR UP was to increase the percentage of low-income students who graduate from high school fully prepared to enter into post-secondary educational settings. Hezel Associates was hired to evaluate the program implementation and collect baseline student data.

This summer program evaluation was used to inform the development of a larger, multi-year GEAR UP project. Student baseline data was collected prior to student’s participation in the summer program. Baseline dated measured students’ perception of college affordability, awareness of post-secondary education options, awareness of ways to finance college, educational expectations and post high school intentions. The baseline data collection instrument was constructed based on NCCEP/AT&T foundation GEAR UP national evaluation project standards. Students completed activity reflection surveys immediately following each weekly session. Follow up reflections allowed evaluators to measure students’ program enjoyment, experience and interest in participating in future GEAR UP activities. Hezel Associates researchers were able to provide the solid baseline evaluation and data collection needed for a quality assessment and to continue with the project as it progressed through the multi-year program.