University of California, Merced
In Summer 2021, the University of California, Merced (UCM) implemented a pilot program called “Summer Edge” to try out a new model for college readiness preparation for incoming first-year students. Students who signed up to participate in the program did not earn undergraduate credit. Their primary incentive for completing the pilot was to improve their knowledge and be more prepared for their college-level pre-calculus class. They were also given the option to retake the UCM math placement exam so that they could place into calculus.
I feel that the program helped to solidify my dream of going to college even though I was questioning whether I should or not. I can see that there are options for me now and that I can apply myself to get through my classes even when there are pressures and self-doubt.
— Summer Edge student participant
UCM is planning on using propensity score matching to look at the first-semester grades for Summer Edge pilot student participants versus a demographically similar group of non-participant students. We hope to see overall performance gains for the Summer Edge students, with particular success in math and writing courses. We will also be looking at first-year student survey outcomes to see if the summer experience impacted student sense of belongingness, their study skills, and their academic self-agency.
Based on the success of the pilot, UCM plans to scale-up the Summer Edge program to serve upwards of 1,000 incoming students each year. We are also planning a Winter Edge program to help serve students who will be taking their first college math course in the spring semester.