NFER evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme - Cohort 2
The second Cohort of 116 students enrolled in 2008 and completed the programme in 2010. Our findings are based on a baseline survey of 111 Cohort 2 students and 132 comparison students. We sent a follow-up survey to all students who completed the baseline questionnaire; 56 RfE students and 68 comparison students returned this. Students attending the summer school also took part in focus groups and completed a proforma. We gathered destination data for 76 per cent of the original 243 students who completed the baseline survey and grade-related data for 73 per cent of them.
- Proportionally more of the students from the RfE programme (44 per cent) progressed on to research intensive universities than their comparison counterparts (28 per cent). This difference is not statistically significant. However, when the data from young people from cohorts 1 and 2 is combined, there is a significant difference in the overall number of young people who went on to research intensive universities.
- Over the course of the programme, the RfE students showed greater development in their levels of knowledge about student maintenance grants and student bursaries than their comparison counterparts. Both RfE and control students reported lower levels of knowledge about the financial aspects of a university education than about university more generally.
- There was less of a difference in the levels of satisfaction around information, advice and guidance between the RfE and comparison students in Cohort 2 than there was for Cohort 1. Results show that the comparison group for Cohort 2 was armed with more information than the comparison group in Cohort 1, suggesting that schools were offering more support to young people considering progressing to university, outside of programmes such as RfE.
We followed up with Cohort 2 students around 12 months after they had completed the RfE programme. We received survey responses from 54 of them and carried out telephone interviews with 13 of these.
- All of the Cohort 2 students who responded had remained at university for the duration of their first year.
- Students felt that the programme has helped them to succeed in gaining a place at university. Some felt that they may not have achieved entry to the university or course of their choice without the support of the programme.
- Students felt that RfE had provided them with help for applying to university, developed their social skills, offered an insight into university life, and had given them information on student finance. They also noted that it had increased their confidence, equipped them with study skills and helped with their university choices.
We later revisited the progress of the Cohort 2 students two years after completing RFE. Based on 41 responses, we found that students had remained engaged in their University courses. This demonstrates the longevity of the benefits of the RFE programme.
For further information on the Cohort 2 evaluation please read:
- Lamont, E., Flack, J. and Wilkin, A. (2011) An evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme: Cohort Two. Slough: NFER. [Available online]
- Kettlewell, K., Lamont, L. and Aston, H. (2011) Evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme Longitudinal Report for Cohorts 1 and 2. Slough: NFER. [Available online]
- Smith, R., Kettlewell, K. and Aston, H. (2013) Evaluation of the Reach for Excellence Programme: second longitudinal report for Cohorts 1 and 2. Slough: NFER. [Available online]