DIR, through an ED-IES contract, completed an evaluation of Upward Bound projects, focusing on service delivery and accessibility.

DIR is pleased to announce that today (November 17, 2016) the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) released a new evaluation report “Upward Bound at 50: Reporting on Implementation Practices Today”. This evaluation report was prepared by DIR and it’s partners’, and funded through our contract with the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. DIR’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Sylvia Epps, and President and CEO, Dr. Russell Jackson, served as the primary authors of the final evaluation report. The executive summary and full report are available HERE .



A look at program practices for one of the largest federal college access programs

A new study finds some differences in how federally funded Upward Bound projects focus and provide their core services, particularly based on the type and location of host institutions that operate the projects. The new study, Upward Bound at 50: Reporting on Implementation Practice Today, was sponsored by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE).

Launched in 1965, Upward Bound is one of the flagship federal programs designed to increase college access for low-income or potential first-generation college students. The legislation that created Upward Bound prescribes seven core services to be offered to students—advising, tutoring, academic coursework, college exposure, college entrance exam preparation, college application assistance, and financial aid application assistance.

The study, released today (Nov. 17), examines the approaches that Upward Bound projects use to provide core program services based on a survey of 819 regular project directors. Key findings include:

  • There was a dominant approach to how projects focused activities in four of the seven core services: At least half of projects reported spending the most time with students by: (1) offering coursework as supplemental (non-credit) classes, (2) helping with homework for tutoring, (3) working with students to research colleges using guidebooks or online tools for college exposure, and (4) helping students complete actual college applications for application assistance;
  • When, where, and how services were delivered differed across service areas: There was no dominant approach to when services were offered except for tutoring, which was typically available after school. Services were most commonly provided at the host institution or at students’ high school, and were delivered either in groups or one-on-one, depending on the service; and
  • The focus and delivery of services varied more by type of host institution (4-year, 2-year, and non-higher education) and urbanicity than by other project characteristics examined: There were few substantive differences in the share of projects that reported using each approach by project size (number of students served), per-student funding, and whether the host institution was a Minority-Serving Institution.

Read more at (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20174005/).

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent research, evaluation, and statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Education. For more information, visit the IES website or follow IES on Facebook and Twitter


The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation and statistics.

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