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Past Projects

Syracuse University GEAR UP Evaluation (2009-2010)

The prospects for enrolling students from urban backgrounds at the post-secondary level are daunting. Syracuse University’s (SU) (www.syr.edu) Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for SyracuseUniversityUndergraduate Program (GEAR UP) was a federally funded initiative targeting high school graduation, and post-secondary enrollment rates of at-risk students. The GEAR UP program worked to identify and overcome several gaps in services, infrastructure, and opportunities.

Hezel Associates was hired to conduct an external evaluation of the GEAR UP program. The program spanned five Syracuse City School District (SCSD) (www.syracusecityschools.com) high schools and involved 2,918 students along with several SCSD, SU, and GEAR UP faculty members—hired to implement the initiative. In support of the GEAR UP program, Hezel Associates surveyed students and parents, and interviewed program administrators. The district maintained student records, including student academic achievement, program enrollment, demographic, grade advancement, and attendance. The data collected and analyzed served formative and summative purposes but were largely used to meet federal reporting requirements.

Hezel Associates’ evaluation was particularly instrumental in improving the GEAR UP Fridays Program, a summer program for low-income high school students which was designed to prepare and motive students for future GEAR UP activities and increase awareness of post secondary educational options. To best serve program needs, Hezel Associates reported formative findings on a weekly basis, allowing data to inform summer program implementation.