With the support of the Texas Education Agency (TEA), two nonprofit organizations—The Commit Partnership (Commit), dedicated to improving Texans’ access to living wage jobs, and The NROC Project (NROC), makers of EdReady, an adaptive learning platform—launched Texas College Bridge.
The program, which has been adopted by more than 400 independent school districts and 90 institutions of higher education and has awarded nearly 78,000 certificates of completion, was designed to ensure that students who were identified as underprepared for postsecondary education—based on GPA, standardized test score(s), or another conventional measure—were provided the opportunity to address their math and English gaps and matriculate to a participating college.
Prior to the introduction of Texas College Bridge, underprepared Texas students who wished to pursue higher education had few opportunities to improve their subject mastery, relegating them to remedial or developmental studies, non-credit coursework that lengthens the time it takes to earn a postsecondary credential while increasing the cost of college.
Cicero Social Impact reviewed representative samples of student data from seven community and technical colleges and four universities from both urban and rural geographic areas. The study posed two primary research questions:
The data for this initial study were limited; nonetheless, the analysis, which compared Texas College Bridge students to students who did not participate in the program, revealed the following preliminary findings:
In addition to the primary takeaways, researchers found directional evidence that Black Texas College Bridge students have higher persistence rates than students of other races.
“The NROC Project is committed to improving educational equity, and Cicero’s determinations, while preliminary, underscore that we are achieving that aim. The Texas College Bridge program, powered by EdReady, closes the readiness gap between at-risk and academically prepared high school students and proves that students who may not perform well on high-stakes standardized tests can be just as successful as their peers who do,” said Dr. Ahrash Bissell, President of NROC.
Cicero Social Impact used logistic regression to model binary response variables for semester course grades and second-semester enrollment. A spectrum of considerations informed the research model, including first-generation student status, socioeconomic factors, institution types (2-year versus 4-year institutions), ethnicity, race, Texas Success Initiative Assessment exemption achieved through a standardized test (SAT and ACT), first-semester credit load, reporting semester and year, and withdrawal course grades.
Hundreds of additional districts and new higher education partners are expected to adopt Texas College Bridge in 2023, and, at present, more than 55,000 students are actively participating in the program.
This report and future Cicero Social Impact research and other analyses are informing program improvements, ensuring that students across the state of Texas will not only be able to enroll in college, but persist, enjoy expanding credential and degree options, and succeed.
While these preliminary data suggest that Texas College Bridge helps students shore up essential math and English skills and perform as well in their gateway courses and persist at rates similar to non-Texas College Bridge students, The NROC Project is committed to broadening and deepening the scope of our efficacy research via continued third-party analyses, interviews with Texas College Bridge participants, a Summer convening of Texas College Bridge institutional partners, and more. Additional insights will inform technological, curricular, and implementation improvements.