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How does it work?

Evaluation of Get Focused, Stay Focused (GFSF)

The federal government through its What Works Clearinghouse ( and prominent education organizations, such as the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy (, have long promoted the idea that education programs need rigorous evaluations to determine their effectiveness much like medical treatments.  The GFSF evaluation will use the most rigorous evaluation design—random assignment—to create two equivalent groups, a treatment group that participates in the program and a control group that does not.  This technique insures that any differences in student outcomes after participating in the program can be attributed to the program itself. 

The GFSF Phase II evaluation will randomly assign schools to the treatment group through a school lottery..

How it will work

Participating schools offer the freshman course to all students.  Schools enter a lottery, with half of the schools offering the program in year 1 and half of the schools offering the program in year 2.

Year 1 (2016-17)

Half of the schools are randomly selected by lottery to implement the program in year 1.  The program is offered to all freshman.

Year 2 (2017-18)

Program is offered to all freshman in the second group of schools.  Year 1 schools implement the 10th grade follow-up curriculum. 


Year 2 schools can learn from the experiences of year 1 schools, helping ensure a smoother implementation.  Impact data available Winter 2016.


All students are not served until year 2.

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Partners or collaborators
Foundation for California Community Colleges
George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative
California Community College Chancellor's Task Force on Student Success
Academic Innovations LLC
UCSB Graduate School of Education California Dropout Research Project
UC Educational Evaluation Center, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education

Eastern Oregon University’s College of Education
California SB1070 Coordinators from select regions
Santa Barbara Foundation
Santa Barbara City College Dual Enrollment Department
Carpinteria and Santa Barbara Unified School Districts
Santa Barbara County Office of Education’s Partners in Education