The Effectiveness of a Youth Development Program on High-School Graduation for At-Risk, Urban Youth: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Last registered on July 21, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Effectiveness of a Youth Development Program on High-School Graduation for At-Risk, Urban Youth: A Randomized Controlled Trial
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002384
Initial registration date
June 03, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 06, 2022, 5:54 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
July 21, 2022, 2:12 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Notre Dame

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2017-10-02
End date
2024-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Abstract
The primary purpose of the program being studied is to help at-risk students to graduate from high school. Program participants live in impoverished, dangerous communities and are most often attending low performing schools. The program aims to change the norm by giving them the necessary wraparound supports for students such as tutoring, youth advocacy, life skills training, job training, and college advising, so that they are able to overcome such adversity. While the program operates in several school districts across the country, this evaluation considers implementation of the program in two urban district in the northeast. These sites are best suited for evaluation due to the large number of students in the school districts, the high rate of childhood poverty, and the strong relationship between program administrators and the districts. Through a randomized controlled trial, comparing students eligible for the program but due to funding constraints, unserved students, with eligible students enrolled in the program, we are tracking key outcomes of the program, including academic progress, high school graduation, and postsecondary enrollment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Dee, Thomas, Chloe Gibbs and James Sullivan. 2022. "The Effectiveness of a Youth Development Program on High-School Graduation for At-Risk, Urban Youth: A Randomized Controlled Trial." AEA RCT Registry. July 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2384
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The primary purpose of the program is to help at-risk students graduate from high-school. Program participants live in impoverished, dangerous communities and are most often attending low performing schools. The evaluation will consider implementation of the program in two large school districts located in cities in the eastern region of the United States with a population between 100,000 and 500,000. Students are at-risk for a number of reasons that can lead to them dropping out of school. The program strives to change the norm by providing the necessary supports for students to overcome such adversity, thereby ultimately increasing the likelihood of high-school graduation, post-secondary education and employment preparedness.

The primary goal of the program is accomplished by providing students with a professional and trained mentor in addition to academic supports (tutoring, state exam prep, etc.). Moreover, students are provided with employment opportunities and job readiness training. Opportunities to build life skills, assets, and post-high school readiness are provided through a variety of activities. The program operates on the fundamental belief that lifelong success must include home, school, work and the community. We engage with and elicit the support of parents, teachers, counselors, and employers to help the program participants achieve their goals.

The program has a long-standing history of tracking and improving outcomes. Cost-effectiveness research has shown the program to yield a significant return on investment. The program is evidence-informed and has consistently demonstrated the ability to impact graduation rates by addressing generational poverty and risk factors that pose a barrier to completing high-school.
Intervention Start Date
2017-10-02
Intervention End Date
2022-06-15

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
On-time High School graduation
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Post-Secondary Enrollment, Earnings
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will evaluate the impact of a comprehensive case management program for at-risk high school students (hereafter, “the program”) using an RCT research design. The study includes two separate cohorts of students—the 2017-2018 entering cohort and the 2018-2019 entering cohort, resulting in an expected total study sample of 2,500. Students were enrolled from two mid-size, urban school districts (hereafter, “District A and District B”) in the first cohort, but only from District B in the second cohort. At the start of the school year for each of these cohorts, the school districts sent a de-identified list of eligible incoming ninth grade students to the research team (n=1,005 in District A and n=739 in District B for the 2017-2018 cohort). The research team then generated random numbers for each of these eligible students to specify the order in which they were recruited to enroll in the program (i.e., the treatment). Total capacity for participation in the program for incoming ninth-grade students was approximately 250 in District A and 200 in District B with available program slots varying across schools.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization. Names are randomly ordered on a recruitment list.
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2500 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
2500 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Aiming to enroll approximately 1,800 students in the study.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Univeristy of Notre Dame
IRB Approval Date
2017-09-12
IRB Approval Number
17-07-3971
Analysis Plan

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