After three years of Project HOPE: Examining the long-term effects of an out-of-school program on HOPE scholars
High-potential students from low-income families can successfully perform in an out-of-school enrichment program designed for gifted youth when provided access to and the opportunity to attend. This study consisted of two purposes. First, this study sought to analyze measurement invariance across socioeconomic groups on My Class Activities (MCA), an evaluation instrument used in an out-of-school enrichment program for high-potential students. Scores from 685 participants were used to evaluate the model fit of two different MCA models and to test invariance across socioeconomic groups. A measurement model was developed by comparing the fit statistics of two models, a four factor model with 31-items and a four-factor model with 29-items. Because the four-factor model with 29-items produced a better fit to the data, this model was used in multiple group confirmatory factor (MCFA) analyses. MCFA results indicated measurement invariance across socioeconomic groups, and an evaluation of latent means showed no differences in the four MCA factors between students from low-income and non-low-income families. Second, this study explored the academic and affective experiences of high-potential students from low-income families after three years of participation in the enrichment program. Eleven students and ten parents were interviewed to gain a better understanding of the high-potential students' experiences. Student interviews indicated that they expressed positive feelings about the program; experienced supportive relationships from their parents, teachers, friends, and classmates; held individual characteristics that helped them to be academically and socially successful; and participated in a variety of out of school activities. Positive feelings about the program included the following subcategories: enjoyed the program; explored different career options; chose classes based on interest; worked in flexible groups; and enhanced self-confidence. Parent interviews indicated that they shared positive feelings about the program; students have close relationships with their families; and students' individual characteristics influenced their experiences. Parents' positive feelings about the program included positive experiences, benefits of the program, feelings about scholarships, and teachers in the enrichment program. Findings indicated that having access to and participating in an out-of-school enrichment program enhanced the self-efficacy of the students in this study. Additionally, outcomes of their participation revealed characteristics of resilience among the participants. Individual characteristics, family characteristics, and external support positively influenced the HOPE Scholars' academic and social experiences.^
Marcia Gentry, Purdue University.
Education, Gifted|Education, Special