NFER evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme - Cohort 1
The first Cohort of 119 students enrolled in 2007 and completed the programme in July 2009. The evaluation included baseline surveys with 114 Cohort 1 students and 181 comparison students. We sent a follow-up survey to all students who completed the baseline questionnaire; 64 RfE students and 89 comparison students returned this. We also gathered data on A-level grades and post-school/college destinations for 76 per cent of the 295 students who completed the baseline survey.
- Students on the RfE programme were twice as likely as similar students in the comparison group to enter a research intensive university, with just under one half (45 per cent) of RfE students entering these universities, compared with one-fifth (21 per cent) of those from the comparison group.
- RfE students were also more likely to enter higher education generally: 87 per cent of RfE students progressed to a university compared with 65 per cent of similar students in the comparison group.
- RfE students were significantly happier than their comparison group peers about the amount of information and guidance they had received to help them to make decisions about university.
We followed up with Cohort 1 RfE students approximately 12 months after they completed the RfE programme. We received survey responses from 55 of the Cohort 1 students and carried out telephone interviews with 30 of them.
- All of the students in the sample who had enrolled at university were still engaged in their studies. This suggests that retention rates are high amongst RfE students.
- RfE was felt to have led to a wealth of benefits for those involved whilst making their university choices, preparing for university education and settling in at university.
- The majority of students felt that the programme helped them to plan effectively for their future, and half of the interviewees felt that the RfE programme had helped them to make the decision to attend university.
- Retrospectively, the most helpful elements of the programme were considered to be study skills sessions, the summer school and meeting other people.
We later revisited the progress of the Cohort 1 students two and three years after they had completed RfE. Based on 39 survey responses, we found that two years after completing RFE, the students remained engaged in their university courses. Three years after completing RFE, we found that most students had gone onto graduate (based on 33 responses). This demonstrates the longevity of the benefits of the RfE programme.
Further information on the Cohort 1 evaluation please read the following reports:
- Evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme: Cohort One (April 2012)
- Evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme. Cohort 1 Longitudinal Report(April 2012)
- Evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme Longitudinal Report for Cohorts 1 and 2 (April 2012)
- Evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme: second longitudinal report for Cohorts 1 and 2 (February 2013)