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Intensive/Summer Bridge Programs
Many bridging programs across the country focus on students interested in specific careers or the needs of students accepted for enrollment at specific colleges/universities. In Texas, the focus of its Higher Education Bridging/Intensive Programs has been on the underprepared student with the goal of decreasing the need for developmental education and increasing student persistence and success. In addition, student participation was not based on future enrollment in a specific college or university.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) administered state-appropriated funding from 2007 through 2011 to establish Higher Education Bridging/Intensive Programs. Most programs were offered by Texas institutions of higher education where student participants received rigorous academic instruction in the subject areas of Reading, Writing, and/or Mathematics. While most programs were offered in a 4-6 week summer timeframe, some Transition programs were offered on weekends or in before-school or after- school timeframes. Programs were designed to address at least one of four programmatic components:

  • Adult Education Students (AES) - for GED completers transitioning to higher education
  • High School Bridge (HS) - for rising 11th and 12th graders not college ready
  • First Year Persistence (FYP) - for first year students at risk of dropping out of college
  • Developmental Education Bridge (DE) - for recent high school graduates not college ready

While the AES programs were more recently implemented and have not had sufficient time to appropriately measure outcomes, the HS, FYP, and DE programs have measures of success that can be offered to institutions interested in replicating these programs.

According to the 2011 Consolidated Annual Program Evaluation Report (THECB, 2012), "bridge programs can make a difference in participation and college readiness for underprepared high school students" (Page 2), and are also more likely to be successful in their first college-level courses.

Texas has learned that successful bridging/intensive programs for underprepared students share similar features. Those components include the following:

Begin planning activities 9-12 months before program offered
Establish a budget ranging from $1,200 to $1,700 per student participant
Begin recruiting students early - this generally requires well-established relationships
  with local high schools
Involve parents, as appropriate
Involve faculty early in the development of the curriculum that is solidly based on
   the College and Career Readiness Standards
Tailor accelerated curriculum to address the needs of the targeted population
Integrate instruction on learning and study skills into the content curriculum
Provide a wide range of academic and social support services
Require tutoring and mentoring as part of the integrated curriculum
Use technology to differentiate instruction, particularly in Mathematics

For more information contact: Natalie Coffey


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