College-Bound, an SAT Review Project (Brooklyn Public Library)

Outcome-Based Evaluation
Best Practices in New York State

(Example illustrating Qualitative Results)

This project clearly yielded both quantitative and qualitative results. The Feedback points to student achievement in both survey and anecdotal form. While the timeframe for the grant may have precluded collecting the data for the grant report, similar programs would be encouraged to plan from the beginning to ask students to voluntarily contact the library to share their scores. When students take the SAT’s more than once, it would also be helpful to see what changes occur. When a program has such an impact that students vastly improve scores and get into a college of choice or obtain scholarships in part because of scores, it might also be of value to keep track of such individuals as future Friends of the Library and/or donors.

Exceeded by 7% a proposed goal of registering 80% (i.e., at least 150 students of the 192 students targeted as program participants (11th and 12th grade students from some of Brooklyn’s highest-need neighborhoods).

Registrants responses:

  • 90% had a better understanding to the different SAT content areas
  • 92% had acquired new skills or test taking strategies for the SAT
  • 98% found that suggestions and strategies offered in the classes were practical and useful
  • 99% believed that other young people would benefit from the SAT classes
  • 52% were likely to use the Library or the library website to find further information on the SAT
  • 68% of the SAT class participants maintained an average attendance of at least 60% of the 10-session program
  • 75% of students overall saw improvements on the scores of the practice SAT’s they took at the end of the 10-week review classes.
  • Review class features that participants found especially valuable included: learning to time and pace themselves during the exam; strategies to use in the reading portion and verbal section of the test; and the “Do’s and Don’t” of essay writing.

Adult and teen participants in the College-Bound informational workshops responses:

  • 78% of respondents indicated they had a better understanding of the college application process
  • 70% agreed they gained a better understanding of the nature of undergraduate study
  • 88% agreed that the workshop presenters were knowledgeable and helpful
  • 88% believed that they had benefited from these workshops and that other people would do so as well
  • 74% indicated that they were likely to use the library or library website to find further information on College Bound topics.


One student, who had taken the first winter series SAT review classes held at Transit Tech H.S, recently reported to his instructor that the class had helped him raise his score by 100 points. He also explained, “I started hearing back from colleges. I got accepted to the Honors Program at Queens College, and I got into York. I’m waiting to hear from Brooklyn College. I heard from some of the other students and they raised their scores too.

Another was able to attend only five class sessions in the 10-sesson series. Not a typical “high achieving” student, she joked about how often she cut classes at school. However, she called before each SAT review class she missed to explain that she would be absent. She then came to the library at the end of each session that she missed to request the homework assignment. When asked about her college plans, She told her instructor that she planned to go to beauty school. As the conversation progressed, however, she admitted that she really wished to go to law school. Her mother reported that at home, she talked frequently about the SAT class and how much it meant to her. She scored over 650 on the SAT‘s verbal portion and was very surprised by how well she did.

A senior with college aspirations who would be the first college applicant in his family, had not yet begun the application process. He explained that he did not have a good relationship with his guidance counselor at school. Moreover, because he believed that he would fail the test, he had not planned to take the SAT. At the College-Bound workshop, he learned that there is no such thing as “failing” the SAT and that taking the test is a prerequisite for applying to most colleges. He found out that the CUNY system will accept a SAT score of 420 or above as an exemption from remedial math and English classes. He also learned that first-generation college students are valued and sought after by many colleges. He subsequently attended 10 sessions of SAT prep at the library. His practice test scores were 450 (verbal) and 500 (math)

Another student asked for a college recommendation at the end of 10 SAT prep sessions. She was successfully admitted to City College (CUNY) and returned to the library to request a second recommendation for a competitive scholarship given to journalism and communication majors. Awarded a substantial scholarship, she has most recently applied for a competitive mentoring program sponsored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.  

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Last Updated: June 3, 2009