Thursday, January 19, 2012

Upward Bound, Science and Advocacy

The same advocacy group that successfully pushed through a congressional ban on any further randomized control trial (RCT) of Upward Bound now protests that the quality of the one existing RCT is unacceptable. Not coincidentally, this RCT found Upward Bound to be ineffective.
The first and only RCT of Upward Bound did find suggestive evidence that the program helped students who had the lowest college aspirations. The follow-up RCT, which was strangled in its cradle, would have investigated this finding further.
Disclaimer: I was on the Technical Working Group for the second Upward Bound RCT, which met exactly once before it was killed. I didn't know this at the time; when I was never called for a second meeting I thought maybe I had been expelled for talking too much.