Results and Best Practices

Investigations into Economic Class in America may be used in any college or university serving under-resourced students to help improve retention and completion and meet other organizational and community goals.

Our clients measure their results through qualitative or quantitative research methodologies—inventories, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, observational studies, exit studies—according to program needs.

If you’d like to get sustained results, call us to tailor a program for your institution’s needs at (800) 424-9484 or email us at

Here are some sample results and best practices. Please note that many client initiatives are in the early stages and results are not yet available.

Ivy Tech Community College-North Central (Indiana): Offered Getting Ahead and Investigations for five years (10 semesters) as a noncredit course to students, employees, and community members. Of the 31 students in the group of 57 completing Getting Ahead/Investigations during the first three years (6 semesters), 32% improved their GPA, 46% were on track to complete their degree in less than three years, and two graduated. Several community participants enrolled in the college.

Walla Walla Community College (Idaho): The Bridge the Gap Project provided best practice training, curriculum and community support to students from under-resourced backgrounds to help them successfully navigate systems of higher learning. Community college faculty and staff were also provided with opportunities to enhance understanding of low-income students and improve retention rates. At the conclusion of the two-year program, data showed a 3% greater retention for students enrolled in Investigations into Economic Class in America as compared to those enrolled in the traditional studies skills class.

Youngstown State University (Ohio): Led a coalition of schools, workforce development agencies, and healthcare employer partners in the development of a career pathway project designed to assist low-wage, low-skill adults to enter and advance in health-related occupations.  Over 300 individuals participated in 15 groups held in schools, employer work sites, and a woman’s shelter. A post-program survey of 153 respondents found that the percentage of respondents employed full-time had increased from 31% to 76%.

Youngstown State University (Ohio): Has used Investigations since spring semester 2009 as part of a one-semester, four-course Learning Community Program (LCP) for incoming health occupations students who test into all three developmental courses (math, reading, composition). The program is evaluated based on semester-to-semester and year-to-year retention of LCP groups compared to the universe of all incoming freshmen taking all three developmental courses. Data are disaggregated by race/ethnicity (minority and non-minority). Except for one cohort, both minority and non-minority students participating in the LCP persisted at a higher rate than those who did not participate in the LCP, with results stronger for minority students.

East High School (Youngstown, Ohio): Collaborated with Youngstown State University to implement the first in the nation high school learning community focusing on economic class issues and the impact of poverty on individuals. Investigations was embedded into a year-long social studies course. Students earned dual college and high school credit for completing the course.

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