Tierney Publishes Findings from Successful College Prep Program

October 29, 2013

College Prep monographWilliam G. Tierney authored a new monograph on findings from 10 years of SummerTIME, a writing program for college-bound youth offered by the Pullias Center for Higher Education at USC Rossier. SummerTIME (Tools, Information, Motivation, Education) serves low-income underrepresented college-bound students representing Los Angeles Unified high schools where over 90 percent of attendees are eligible for the federal school lunch program. Most participants live in homes where English is a second language and are the first in their families to graduate high school and continue on to college.

His report, The Summer Before: Improving College Writing Before Freshman Year, details the program’s structure and design, theoretical framework, evaluation model, and impressive results.

The most recent study found that 60 percent of SummerTIME students who were classified as remedial at the start of the program according to a writing pretest were classified as college-ready on the writing posttest. Additionally, 80 percent of SummerTIME students improved by one score or more on a writing test from pretest to posttest.

Tierney also reveals findings about what works from the program’s decade in operation, and he notes obstacles to sustainability and scaling up, most notably, unreliable funding.

After serving more than 1,000 college-bound students, SummerTIME concluded its final year last summer due to its funding challenges. However, Tierney concludes that programs like SummerTIME need to be increased and expanded in order to impact college readiness, and he hopes the program model can be replicated and implemented in other cities.