Program Areas | College and Career Access and Success

Bard High School Early College: Impact Evaluations

In 2011, Bard College received the first of two three-year grants to evaluate the impact of its early college high school programming. Both studies, which were conducted by Metis Associates, used rigorous propensity score matching (PSM) techniques to compare students who attended Bard College High School Early College (BHSEC) high schools with closely matched students who attended other high schools within the same city. The first grant, which was implemented in NYC from 2011–2014, revealed particularly exciting and promising findings at the post-secondary level, showing that BHSEC students had significantly greater four-year college graduation rates overall than their matched comparisons who attended either traditional or specialized NYC public high schools—a finding that was even stronger for African American students and males. The second grant was implemented from 2015–2018 and allowed for the continuation of the initial study by examining results at a BHSEC school in another city—Newark, NJ. For this study, in addition to the rigorous quantitative component, the Metis evaluators conducted qualitative activities to provide a rich context for understanding the quantitative results. Over the course of the evaluation, the Metis evaluation team observed classroom activities and held focus groups with faculty members and students at BHSEC Newark. Overall, the study found several initial notable positive findings with practical importance about the high school credit accumulation, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment of BHSEC students in relation to their matched comparisons. These findings were corroborated by the qualitative study, which found that the school emphasizes the critical thinking and writing skills that students need to be successful as they transition to four-year colleges and ultimately to their careers.