About ASAP Evaluation
ASAP has been rigorously evaluated and is committed to continuous improvement through the use of data. ASAP evaluation includes ongoing internal analysis by CUNY utilizing a quasi-experimental constructed comparison group design, a five-year experimental design random assignment study led by MDRC, and cost-benefit analysis led by Professor Henry Levin and the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education (CBCSE) at Teachers College. There have been seven ASAP cohorts totaling 6,428 students admitted across six participating CUNY community colleges, with the first cohort entering in fall 2007 and the seventh in fall 2013.
Key findings from CUNY's Evaluation of ASAP
- There are large and significant differences between ASAP and comparison group students in terms of retention, movement through developmental course work, credit accumulation, and graduation rates. ASAP’s current cross-cohort three-year graduation rate is 51% vs. 22% for comparison group students.
- Students who start ASAP with developmental needs also graduate at high rates: After three years, 47% of ASAP students with developmental needs graduated vs. 19% of comparison group students with developmental needs.
- Students from underrepresented groups appear to gain more benefit from ASAP than other students.
- When graduation and transfer are considered together, 63 out of every 100 students who began ASAP three years earlier have either graduated, transferred to a baccalaureate program, or both—versus 44 comparison group students.
- Most importantly, ASAP students graduate at more than double the rates of non-ASAP students.
MDRC released its preliminary findings report in June 2012 for the ASAP random assignment study, which includes a sample of 900 students at three colleges (BMCC, Kingsborough, and LaGuardia). The report includes first-to-second semester findings for participants in cohorts three and four—those who were randomly assigned to ASAP and a control group of regularly admitted community college students. The MDRC report shows that, in comparison to control participants, ASAP increases full-time enrollment, credits earned, completion of developmental coursework, and first-to-second semester retention. MDRC states that “These first effects of ASAP are larger than those of most community college programs that MDRC has studied.”
MDRC released its interim report in December 2013 with two year findings from its random assignment study of ASAP. The report finds that ASAP continued to improve academic outcomes including retention, credits earned, and most importantly two-year graduation rates. MDRC researchers state that “To the authors’ knowledge, ASAP’s two-year effects are unparalleled in large-scale experimental evaluations of programs in higher education to date.” MDRC will share three-year findings in summer 2014.
Click here <pdf> to read the MDRC preliminary report >>
Click here to read the MDRC interim report >>
Cost Benefit Study of ASAP
ASAP has also been the subject of two-part cost-benefit study led by Dr. Henry M. Levin and a research team from the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education (CBCSE) at Teachers College, Columbia University. In September 2012, Dr. Levin's cost-effectiveness report revealed that the average cost per three-year ASAP graduate is lower than comparison group graduates. Part two of Dr. Levin’s study was released in May 2013. This benefit-cost analysis found that an investment in ASAP has very large financial returns for both the taxpayer and the ASAP student due to increased lifetime earnings and tax revenues and reduced costs of spending on public health, criminal justice, and public assistance.