In 2007, as the first Act Six scholars were graduating from Whitworth, Act Six commissioned Wilder Research to perform a formal external evaluation of the Act Six program at Whitworth. The extensive, year-long project resulted in a 220-page report that identified multiple positive effects of the program in its first four years. Key findings are presented in a two-page summary.
Act Six scholars showed significantly higher outcomes compared to a comparison group in another college scholarship program in:
- four-year graduation rate (82%)
- reporting they received the support they needed to succeed on campus (95%)
- participated in more leadership, vocational development and co-curricular activities
- 86% of faculty agreed that the benefits of Act Six outweighed the costs
- 69% of students and 89% of faculty believed that Act Six scholars made positive contribution to the campus through their leadership positions
- over the first four years at Whitworth, enrollment of students of color remained level, but their impact on campus increased (in subsequent years, students of color in Whitworth’s freshmen class has increased from 9% to over 25%)
- Act Six scholars represented 2% of student body, but 56% of students reported having a significant interaction with an Act Six scholar
43% of students reported that they personally benefited from Act Six
In 2012, Degrees of Change President and Act Six Founder Tim Herron published a dissertation for his Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at the University of Washington. The study presents a comprehensive literature-based theory of change that proposes how and why the many interventions of Act Six work together to affect the desired outcomes of the program. It then evaluates the collective impact of these interventions on participants’ college persistence and graduation by comparing outcomes for Act Six participants with participants in a comparison program using propensity score matching techniques. The study finds that Act Six participation has a significant effect on persistence and four-year graduation, with Act Six participants nearly 60% less likely to depart and six times more likely to graduate on time from their first college compared to participants in the matched comparison group, after controlling for 10 covariates believed to affect college persistence.