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Persistence and Success: Summer Bridge Program Effectiveness

Michael S Malone, Johnson & Wales University


Many students start college but fail to persist to degree completion (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008). The implications of student attrition are significant for everyone involved (Tinto, 1993), and knowing why students leave college must be balanced with what institutions can do about attrition (Tinto, 2007). The Summer Bridge Program (SBP) is one intervention institutions employ to increase student persistence and success. Studies have examined SBPs as an intervention for populations such as at-risk students (Murphy, Gaughan, Hume, & Moore Jr., 2010; Valentine et al., 2011), underrepresented students (Strayhorn, 2010), and students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Raines, 2012). This quasi-experimental study addressed two questions: 1. What is the relationship of participation in an SBP and cumulative GPA for first-time college students?, and 2. What is the relationship of participation in an SBP and first to second year persistence for first-time college students? This study employed an ex-post facto quasi-experimental design to test the relationship between academic success and persistence against participation in an SBP. The sample for the study included test groups of first-time college students (N = 77 and N = 120) at a mid-size university in the northeast and randomly selected comparison groups of the same size with a profile similar to that of the test group. The profile was based on student gender, SAT Verbal scores, SAT Mathematics scores, and college affiliation. Data was collected from the institution's main database and analyzed with the assistance of SPSS software. The analysis revealed that SBP participation did not significantly influence GPA or persistence for the 2011 or 2012 groups. When students from one of the university's colleges were disaggregated and analyzed, SBP participation had no influence on GPA; however, for one year SBP participation was significantly correlated for participation. While SBP participation may be valuable for a limited population within the university its application as an intervention for all students is not supported with regard to GPA or persistence.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Malone, Michael S, "Persistence and Success: Summer Bridge Program Effectiveness" (2014). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3621984.