To better understand how the Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) Role Model Program affects middle-school students, Educational Testing Service (ETS) has been working with HISPA to gather survey data from students who participated in the program. The program, a longstanding collaboration between the two organizations to improve educational opportunities for Latino students, was described at an event in Washington, D.C., today.

Under the auspices of its Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy (CAAP), ETS has supported the program that aims to motivate Latino students to aspire to higher education by putting Hispanic professionals before middle school students in New York, New Jersey and Texas.

“Since research has shown that the middle-school years significantly affect whether children pursue higher education, it is vital for us to reach students during these highly impressionable years,” said Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, President, CEO and founder of HISPA.

HISPA works with a large number of major corporations, including AT&T, Accenture and Bristol- Myers Squibb, to recruit Hispanic professionals to become mentors to middle-school students. Once recruited, the mentors visit schools in order to talk with students about their life and work experiences.

ETS has conducted a survey to provide some data about participating students’ attitudes toward the program.

“By surveying students participating in the HISPA Role Model Program on their attitudes toward college and their impressions of the Role Model sessions, we can help HISPA further those goals,” said Fred Cline, ETS’s Lead Research Project Manager, who is in charge of the study. “The information will help HISPA refine and revise various aspects of its program by providing a better understanding of the participating students’ needs and enabling HISPA to provide schools and funding agencies with data on the impact and efficacy of the program.”

Survey results showed that after participating in the HISPA Role Model Program:

  • 96 percent of students thought more seriously about attending college
  • 76 percent of students were more interested in attending college
  • 74 percent of students were more likely to believe they could attend college
  • 82 percent of students thought that attending college would be fun

Students consistently rated the Role Model sessions as interesting and inspiring regardless of whether or not the career or job being discussed was something they would like to do. Additionally, the survey showed that students seemed to engage the most with role models who focused on their personal stories and seemed enthusiastic about college. The study also noted that students were just as likely to indicate that the cost of college and poor grades might keep them from attaining a higher education degree after participating in the program.  This result suggests that future role models should discuss how they personally overcame financial barriers along with alternative paths to college.

“The results of the survey support our sense of the HISPA Role Model Program’s value and effectiveness,” said Lenora Green, Senior Director of ETS’s Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy. “We are delighted that we are continuing our work together, and that we are continuing to survey students in the 2013-14 school year.”

About ETS
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC ® tests, the GRE ® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to proactively encouraging students’ success by providing them with a unique Role Model Program through strategic alliances with educational partners and professionals from the public and private sectors.

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