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Transition Intervention in High School and Pathway Through College
A number of school districts and states have implemented transition intervention programs designed to help high school students graduate ready for college. This study estimates the effectiveness of a transition program implemented statewide in Kentucky for high school seniors called Targeted Interventions (TI). Using 11 years of linked panel data, this study tracks the college progression of seven cohorts of students as they move from high school into college. Using a difference-in-regression discontinuity design, we estimate the program’s impact on college credit attainment and transfer as well as the extent to which the program has helped reshape pathways through college. We find that the TI program significantly increased the likelihood that students would take at least 15 credits during the first term in college, a key measure that has been shown to be predictive of college completion. These early effects, however, do not translate into statistically significant impacts on the likelihood of transfers from a 2-year to a 4-year college, or the likelihood of earning enough credits to graduate from college. We discuss some possible explanations for why the TI program did not lead to observable improvements in college transfer or credit accumulation.
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