An Evaluation of Project GRAD Los Angeles GEAR-UP Program

Since 2010, YD Eval, as part of the Claremont Evaluation Consortium (CEC), has served as the external evaluator of PGLA. PGLA is a non-profit program designed to increase college readiness, success, and graduation among low-income minority students in the San Fernando Valley. PGLA provides intensive services to academically promising students from middle school through college, using a variety of program components including academic and social-emotional support through case management, non-cognitive skill development (e.g., grit, growth mindset), and college awareness events.

Over the past five years, we have conducted formative evaluation of the program’s early implementation, comprehensive summative evaluation of student experiences and outcomes, and most recently, began a longitudinal quasi-experimental evaluation to assess program impact. Our evaluations of PGLA have involved the collaborative development of an organizational logic model to guide program implementation and several evaluation methodologies including observations, staff implementation surveys, student and staff focus groups, student surveys, and analyses of program attendance. As a result of our evaluations, the program has instituted a stronger professional development program, increased student dosage, realigned resources to support high-quality implementation, and developed systems to continuously track and monitor program quality and effectiveness.