CARA conducts research on critical issues in the fields of higher education access and success.
Our goals are to:
- Model and share best practices in program creation, expansion and evaluation
- Advocate for city, state, and federal policies that create more equitable pathways to and through college for underserved students in New York City
- Contribute to theoretical understanding of the social forces that create and perpetuate educational inequity
We draw on quantitative, qualitative, and participatory research approaches to elevate issues of educational justice in the communities where we work, and publish our findings in a range of arenas.
We conduct research in the schools and communities where we work.
In our whole-school work, we find that schools encounter challenges in (1) building a strong college-going infrastructure, and (2) increasing rates of college matriculation for low-income, students of color, and first-generation college students.
With support from the New York Community Trust, researchers from CARA are using qualitative case study methods to document the challenges to college access that students encounter; interviewing school leaders, school staff, and peer leaders in order to understand the shifts that build a strong college-going culture; and capturing the activities and structural changes schools undertake to build students’ understanding of the higher education landscape. Research is taking place across a range of school types implementing both CARA’s College Inquiry and College Bridge programs, with the goal of generating generalizable best practices in college access to inform policymakers and practitioners.
In collaboration with CARA researchers, a group of current college students who work as coaches in the College Bridge program formed a research collective in fall 2017 to study contemporary issues affecting higher education equity. The group is pursuing a research and action project about the college opportunities of undocumented students, Dreamers, and others affected by contemporary policies and cultural climate regarding immigration in the United States.
Supported by a First in the World grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), a group of colleges are investigating how college campus-community engagement transforms students’ college experience and the culture higher education institutions.
CARA is tracking how serving as a peer leader in the College Bridge or College Allies programs impact peer leaders’ college success outcomes at the City University of New York (CUNY). Contrasted against propensity-matched comparison groups of students, CARA has found significantly higher one-year persistence rates for peer leaders, particularly those who are low-income, Black, and/or Latino/a.
Hachey, V.K. & McCallen, L.S. (2018). Perceptions of campus climate and sense of belonging among non-immigrant, first-generation, and second-generation students at public research universities. In K. Soria (Ed.), Evaluating Campus Climate at U.S. Research Universities: Opportunities for Diversity and Inclusion. New York, New York: Springer.
Bloom, J. (2012). Willie Rivera Thoughts: Critical Small Schools and the Transition to Higher Education. In M. Hantzopolous and A. Tyner (Eds.) Critical Small Schools: Beyond Privatization in New York City Urban Educational Reform. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Chajet, L. (Spring, 2011). We Are All In It Together: The Role of Youth Leadership in College Access. Voices in Urban Education. Providence, RI: Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.
Bloom, J. (2008). The Pedagogy of College Access Programs: A Critical Analysis ASHE/Lumina Critical Essay Series.
Bloom, J. (2007). “(Mis)Reading Social Class in the Journey Towards College: Youth Development in Urban America.” Teachers College Record 109(2), 343-368.
Chajet, L. (2007). The Power and Limits of Small School Reform: Institutional Agency and Democratic Leadership in Public Education. In D. Carlson and C. Gause (Eds.), Keeping the Promise: Essays on Leadership, Democracy, and Education. New York: Peter Lang.
Bloom, J. (2005). Hollowing the Promise of Higher Education: Inside the Political Economy of Access to College. In L. Weis and M. Fine (Eds.), Beyond Silenced Voices: Race, Class and Gender in United States Schools. Albany: State University of New York Press.