Guiding Developmental Math Students to Campus Services: An Impact Evaluation of the Beacon Program at South Texas College, Visher, Mary; Butcher, Kristin; Cerna, Oscar. 2010. MDRC.
This report presents results from a rigorous evaluation of the Beacon Mentoring program, designed and implemented by South Texas College in McAllen, Texas. As part of their participation in the Achieving the Dream initiative, college leaders developed an innovative intervention targeting students enrolled in lower-level math courses that have high rates of failure. The program was based on three simple ideas: that students who need services often do not access them even when they are available and free; that a mechanism is needed to alert student services staff when students start to fail in class; and that students need a "go to" person on campus who knows them and to whom they can turn for advice, support, and information. The program had no effect on passing the math class or on persistence. However, evidence suggests that the program had a modest and positive impact on other outcomes for the full sample of students and resulted in additional or more pronounced benefits for two subgroups of students most at risk of failure: students enrolled in developmental math and students who attended college part time.