A logic model program evaluation: examining the outcomes of academic performance and persistence towards graduation of at-risk students enrolled in the Academic Center
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The purpose of this study was a program evaluation of a high school transitional support program, the Academic Center, using a logic model evaluation method. This study used data from institutional records of a single public high school in the Midwest. The population of the study consisted of 110 identified at-risk students who were then matched (n = 55) based on participation in the Academic Center, ethnicity, gender, and free and reduced lunch status (FRL). Questionnaire data were collected to determine what criteria were used to identify 9th graders for referral to the Academic Center. Quantitative data were analyzed to determine if mean scores of (a) graduation rate, (b) exit GPA when students are matched according to pre-entry characteristics (ethnicity, gender, and FRL status), and (c) exit GPA when the pre-entry characteristic of freshman GPA is controlled, of at-risk students participating in the Academic Center during their transition to high school differ from at-risk students who do not participate. This study found that though identification procedures at both feeder schools were similar, variance did exist. That variance could affect what type of student is selected and therefore, the statistical outcomes. Analysis of the data found that at-risk students who participated in the Academic Center did not have significantly different exit GPA scores when freshman GPA was controlled than non-participating at-risk students. However, at-risk students who participated in the Academic Center had lower graduation rates and lower exit GPA scores when matched according to ethnicity, gender, and FRL status than non-participating at-risk students.