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Report 89-4: The Effectiveness of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program's Administrative and Policy-Making Processes: A Report to the Legislature in Response to Assembly Bill 610 (1985)

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

January 1989

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Faculty members of the University of California, Berkeley, established the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program in 1970 to increase the number of underrepresented minority students who have sound academic preparation by giving them the background to complete successfully a college program in engineering, mathematics, and science-based disciplines. MESA directs its efforts at the junior high school, senior high school, and postsecondary levels.

In January 1985, the Commission issued its first report on MESA, and it supported Assembly Bill 610 (Hughes, 1985) which included MESA in California statute. A provision of that legislation directed the Commission to report on MESA's administrative operations and policy-making processes by January 1989. This report fulfills that obligation by commenting on the effectiveness of MESA's administrative and policy-making processes. A full-scale program review of MESA will be forthcoming through future Commission evaluations of intersegmental programs in general.

This report concludes that:

  • Mesa continues to function as a cooperative effort involving secondary and postsecondary educators in conjunction with private industry to prepare and encourage students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to prepare for and succeed in mathematics-based fields in college.
  • MESA's Board of Directors is meeting its legislative mandate in terms of its composition and operations.
  • Participants in MESA are succeeding in mathematics-based disciplines in secondary school and college in higher proportions than their classmates generally as well as those majoring in engineering.
On pages 12-13, the report contains two recommendations related to MESA and two related to intersegmental educational equity programs in general, including MESA:
  1. Given its effectiveness, the sunset date clause of MESA should be removed from statute.
  2. Because MESA depends heavily on support from the private sector, particularly in terms of personnel and services, to enrich the educational experience for participating students, it should improve its capacity to account for these indirect contributions.
  3. Intersegmental programs designed to improve the preparation and success of students for college, especially those students from underrepresented backgrounds, should seek to enhance their involvement with the private sector.
  4. The Commission should review the current process established by the systems for reviewing intersegmental program budgets as a first step in developing recommendations for the State with respect to a budgetary process that is responsive to the administrative and programmatic uniqueness of all intersegmental programs and practices.
The Commission adopted this report on January 23, 1989, on the recommendation of its Policy Evaluation Commission.
Related Topics: Equity, Access, and College Preparation | College-going and Preparation for Higher Education

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