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CEDER GEAR UP 2020-2027


Sep 30, 2020


Sep 29, 2021
Funding Agency
State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

MI GEAR UP is a federally-funded program from the United States Department of Education designed to increase the number of economically-disadvantaged students who are prepared to enter postsecondary education. MI GEAR UP partners with Michigan's 15 public universities and valuable external community partners to provide early intervention services and a scholarship component. MI GEAR UP serves students beginning in the seventh grade and follows them through the first two years of college.


Stephen DesJardins, Ph.D, and evaluation experts from the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) will lead the evaluation team to implement a comprehensive, multi-site evaluation utilizing qualitative and quantitative methodologies that will employ objective performance measures related to the MI GEAR UP goals. There are three goals for the MI GEAR UP evaluation: 1) to rigorously measure, using experimental and quasi-experimental methods, the effects of MI GEARUP’s programs and activities based on its stated goals and objectives for MI GEAR UP cohort and priority students, 2) to provide regular data findings updates and hold data interpretation meetings with MI GEAR UP stakeholders to improve services and the treatment model, and 3) to increase the field’s knowledge of what works to reduce college remediation and increase dual enrollment using two embedded Randomized Control Trials (RCTs).

Embedded Research

Awilda Rodriguez, Ph.D. will lead a one-year intervention to provide early remediation to 10th grade students who are on-track to need developmental education in college. Using 9th grade PSAT8/9 scores, we target students who are below the state cutoff for developmental education in math and provide them in their 10th grade year with: (a) notification to students and families of their risk for remediation; (b) a diagnostic ACCUPLACER exam; (c)test prep to increase ACCUPLACER math scores using Pearson’s MyFoundationLab coursework. MyFoundationLab is a self-paced online course that will be administered throughout the year. Upon completion, students will be re-tested. The goal of this intervention is to increase GEAR UP participants’ scores out of remediation range early enough in their high school trajectories that allow them to participate in dual enrollment. This intervention is modeled after the successful Tennessee SAILS program.

In a multi-year study, Peter Bahr, Ph.D. will develop partnerships with selected postsecondary institutions to implement an evidence-based method of college assessment and placement drawing on measures of high school achievement and using a placement algorithm developed in prior empirical research. Assessment and placement procedures of this sort often are referred to as multiple measures assessment and placement (MMAP). Prior evidence indicates that MMAP polices result in higher average placement in developmental sequences in English and math, and a greater proportion of students being placed directly into college-level coursework. We then will execute a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of MMAP on matriculating high school students’ initial placement in math and English and their early academic progress toward a postsecondary credential.


Primary Investigator(s)

Marvin W. Peterson Collegiate Professor Emeritus, Marsal Family School of Education; Evaluation Faculty Lead
Associate Professor, Marsal Family School of Education

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