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Montana GEAR UP Evaluation Consent Form 2020-2021

Dear Parent,

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Montana's GEAR UP program is run by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) in Helena and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Montana GEAR UP program’s goals are for all Montana students to gain the academic, financial, and social knowledge and skills necessary for college. Montana GEAR UP provides college and career readiness services, such as tutoring, financial aid information, mentoring, college visits, and training for school staff members. The program serves 7th through 12th graders in 18 public schools, as well as college freshmen and parents of GEAR UP students.

Montana GEAR UP has hired a nonprofit, non-partisan research company—Education Northwest, in Portland, Oregon—to evaluate the program. Education Northwest will conduct research to learn what GEAR UP schools do; how the program is helping students, families, and teachers; and how to improve the program. The research will include:
  • Annual surveys of parents, students, and teachers at all GEAR UP schools. The student survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • Site visits to up to 10 schools per year. The research team visits some schools each year to observe GEAR UP activities, interview school leaders and GEAR UP staff members, and hold group interviews (called focus groups) with GEAR UP students and parents. Focus groups will last 30-60 minutes. The research team will work with each school to schedule focus groups at a convenient time and location for students and families, and we will share scheduling information at least a month in advance.
We would like your permission to include your child(ren) in the research study about GEAR UP. If your child(ren) participate, we will ask them what they think about their GEAR UP experiences and for their opinions and knowledge about college and how to pay for it. We will keep this information confidential. Your child’s/children’s name(s) will not appear on any reports written about this project. The research team will not distribute any data collected from your child(ren) or use it in other future research studies. Your child’s/children’s participation is completely voluntary. You or your child(ren) may choose not to participate, and your child can stop participating at any time with no consequences. Nothing will change about your child’s experience in GEAR UP or at the school if they do not participate in the research. There are no risks or benefits to your child(ren) for participating in the research. Participating in the research will not change your child’s/child(ren)’s eligibility for college or funding for college.

If you have any questions about the research, you can contact Havala Hanson at (503) 688-4978 or Mandy Smoker Broaddus at (406) 438-2766. Please provide the information requested on the next page and then sign and date in the space provided.