The grant that I work on currently, GEAR UP, uses college enrollment as its primary outcome. Or rather it used to. In recent grant cycles, the shift in absolute priorities has indicated that primary outcomes have been moving toward persistence i.e. staying in college for eventual graduation. In measuring college-going outcomes, it can vary with increasing expectations:
- Enrolling in any postsecondary institution
- Enrolling in a 2-year college
- Enrolling in a 4-year college
- Enrolling in college without need for remediation
- Persisting in college for the second year on track to graduation
- Graduating from college in six years
GEAR UP, due to its nature of the grant cycle, can only measure the first five outcomes and predict with varying accuracy the sixth one. But it is increasingly obvious that the first two outcomes are met easily or even the third outcome but the other two are exponentially difficult.