Examining the effectiveness of the "Latino/a Educational Equity Project" (LEEP): A program designed for Latino/a college students
Cerezo, Alison, 1978-
The purpose of this dissertation study was to examine the effectiveness of an intervention program specifically designed to facilitate social awareness and adjustment to college for Latino/a students enrolled in four-year universities in the Pacific Northwest. I designed an intervention program, the Latino/a Educational Equity Project (LEEP), as a multifaceted prevention intervention to increase student capacities and knowledge of: (a) the importance of building a network of individuals to support their academic endeavors, (b) political awareness of race and higher education and the importance of college retention and completion, (c) awareness of university demands and development of skills that are needed to balance home and university demands, as well as (d) comfort with and increased utilization of campus resources. As identified by the research literature, these components have been associated with both the needs of Latino/a students in higher education and with Latino/a student retention. I utilized quasi-experimental design with between- and within-subject measurement, including assessments at pre- and three-week post-test, to evaluate the effects of the LEEP program in comparison with a no-treatment control condition. The LEEP intervention was conducted at three public universities in the Pacific Northwest. The total sample for the present study was 40 treatment participants and 41 participants in the control condition. A repeated-measures MANCOVA was utilized to assess the effectiveness of the LEEP intervention program. Results demonstrated partial success for the LEEP intervention program. The intervention successfully improved participants' overall adjustment to college in comparison with control condition participants. However, intervention effects for LEEP participants were not statistically different from control participants on outcomes related to increased critical consciousness, collective self-esteem, or enhanced cultural congruity. Initial pre-test scores and lower statistical power than optimal (.35) for this type of study may partially explain why the intervention was not fully successful in these other areas. A discussion of results, strengths, and limitations of the present study and implications for future intervention research and practice and provided.