Quiet Time: Reducing Stress and Improving Life Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students
Last registered on August 29, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Quiet Time: Reducing Stress and Improving Life Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002684
Initial registration date
May 10, 2018
Last updated
August 29, 2019 10:51 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Chicago Crime Lab
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Northwestern University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-09-01
End date
2020-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Growing up and living in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods can cause toxic stress, which can have lasting adverse effects on student academic and behavioral outcomes. To address the harmful effects of stress caused by chronic exposure to violence and poverty, we propose an evaluation of Quiet Time, an in-school meditation program. Quiet Time (QT) gives students training in Transcendental Meditation and the time to practice it during two 15-minute periods during the school day, giving young people the tools and time to reset amidst the constant stress of their everyday lives. We hypothesize that teaching students to meditate and giving them the space to do so during each school day will lead to improvements in educational outcomes and behavior inside and outside of the classroom. Using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in six public high schools in Chicago, we aim to determine the effects of the QT program as measured by academic achievement and school engagement and behaviors in and out of school.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Guryan, Jon and Aurelie Ouss. 2019. "Quiet Time: Reducing Stress and Improving Life Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students ." AEA RCT Registry. August 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2684-2.0.
Former Citation
Guryan, Jon, Aurelie Ouss and Aurelie Ouss. 2019. "Quiet Time: Reducing Stress and Improving Life Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students ." AEA RCT Registry. August 29. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2684/history/52539.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The Quiet TIme program is an in-school meditation program for students in under-resourced communities. As part of this design, two 15-minute periods are built into the school day during which students in treatment classrooms can choose to practice TM, while students in control classrooms are offered other status-quo educational and enrichment opportunities. These are determined by school staff and include activities such as reading-based college/career readiness or current events curriculums.
Intervention Start Date
2016-10-01
Intervention End Date
2018-06-18
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
A. Administrative outcomes
1) Outcome 1: Academic outcomes - We plan to evaluate the impact of meditation on academic outcomes, for example as measured by GPA, standardized test scores, and attendance. We will leverage existing data-sharing agreements between the University of Chicago Urban Labs and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to collect these data.
2) Outcome 2: Behavioral outcomes - We will look at behavioral outcomes as measured by in-school disciplinary infractions and out of school arrests, victimization and violence involvement. Again, we will work with CPS to collect these data through our existing data sharing agreements. We will also work with the Chicago Police Department to use administrative arrests and victimization for this study.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study uses a cluster RCT design, in which classrooms are randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. A total of 6 schools were enrolled in the study (3 in school year 2016-2017 and 3 in school year 2017-2018).
Experimental Design Details
Following a successful 2015-16 program pilot in Chicago, we launched the first large scale RCT of an in-school meditation program among disadvantaged students in school year 2016-17. Working with our partners at CPS, we selected schools with students living in low-income, high-violence neighborhoods in which stress from one’s environment is likely to carry over into the classroom. We identified and secured interest from three public high schools for the first year of the study and three additional public high schools for the second year of the study.
The second and final year of the RCT will run through school year 2017-18.

The study uses a cluster RCT design, in which classrooms are randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. As part of this design, two 15-minute periods are built into the school day during which students in treatment classrooms can choose to practice TM, while students in control classrooms are offered other status-quo educational and enrichment opportunities. All treatment students, regardless of their choice to participate or not, will comprise the treatment group for the intent to treat (ITT) estimates. Consent to be trained and participation data will enable more granular analyses of the effect of the treatment on the treated (TOT).

Participation data is collected daily by classroom teachers using a tracking system developed by DLF to capture compliance and non-compliance. Study staff will also regularly conduct observational site visits to each study school. During these visits, staff will use a standardized observation rubric developed during the pilot year to provide data on the level of compliance during Quiet Time periods. This will be used to collect qualitative data such as duration of the QT period, TM leader, instances of disturbances and encouragement, and transitions in and out of Quiet Time. We will compare aggregate participation data collected through site visits with the daily participation data recorded by classroom teachers.

In conversations with school leadership and experience from past studies high school settings, we have learned that classroom composition is not set until about a month into the school year, due to changes in student enrollment. Considering this, we randomized classrooms approximately one month into the school year. To improve balance between treatment and control conditions, prior to randomization, classrooms were matched into similar pairs based on demographic and academic characteristics of the students. This exercise allowed the research team to document that the treatment and control groups were equivalent before students began participation in QT. Students who transfer into a morning treatment classroom from a morning control classrooms after randomization occurred were offered the chance to meditate. In Intention to Treat (ITT) estimates, they will be counted as control students if they transfer from a control classroom. Students who enroll in a study school later in the year will participate in Quiet Time activities with their peers but will not be included in the study. However, all students enrolled during randomization will be included in the study.
Randomization Method
Randomization was carried out in Stata and stratified by:
• School
• Grade
• Randomization wave
• [if applicable]: past arrest rate
Randomization Unit
Classroom
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Year 1: 41 classrooms
Year 2: 59 classrooms
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,168 students: 1,094 treatment, 1,074 control
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Year 1: 779 students across 41 morning classrooms and three schools. 399 were randomized to treatment and 380 to control.

Year 2: 1,389 students across 59 classrooms and three schools. 695 randomized to treatment and 694 to control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Chicago
IRB Approval Date
2015-09-09
IRB Approval Number
IRB15-0980
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS