Title

An exploration of equity : a case study of an Upward Bound Program

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

The Star Upward Bound Program has operated for over 35 years. In that time, it has assisted over a thousand low-income, first-generation students to obtain their dream of going to college. In recent years, the program has boasted a success rate at getting more than 98 percent of its graduates to go on to college. While the program has had many overall successes, program management had not explored whether it was equally successful with all of the groups the program serves. Program staff have deep concerns around issues of equity and wanted to explore these issue. Among the concerns were whether males and females were equally successful in the program, if services to different racial and ethnic groups were yielding similar results and if students from low-income families were achieving similar success to those from middle-income families. The research sought to view equity within Star Upward Bound by exploring the educational achievement gap between males and females, students of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and students of different income levels. Additionally, the research viewed the program results through the frameworks of education as a means for breaking the cycle of poverty or maintaining the socio-economic status quo. Overall, the Star Upward Bound program is having a great deal of success among male and female students, students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and students in all three of its income categories. However, there are some specific areas of concern: 1. Males are underrepresented in the program and are not performing as well academically as female participants. 2. Black and Latino students lag behind White and Asian students in academic performance after participating in the program even when they began on parity with White students. 3. Students whose academic performance is being tracked for the Department of Education are more likely to remain with the program, while those not being tracked appear more likely to be dismissed from the program. Research data may not clearly indicate the reasons for the disparity in performance of students, but observations by the researcher about the varied experiences that participants are having within the program may provide some indications.

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