Our University of Chicago Crime Lab research team will carry out a 2 x 2 randomized experiment, in which some male youth are randomly assigned to receive what we believe to be best-practice intensive academic supports (high-dosage math tutoring provided by Match Education of Boston), or what we believe to be best-practice non-academic supports, for which we have identified Youth Guidance's Becoming a Man (BAM) program that provides a version of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or to receive both, or neither (control condition).
At the time the program is being launched, our research team has resources to provide intervention services to youth for one year (AY 2013-14). Our team is currently seeking additional funding to be able to provide youth randomized into different treatment and control conditions with 2 years of intervention.
The BAM intervention is a version of CBT adapted to help promote pro-social life outcomes among disadvantaged male youth. BAM includes in-school and after-school programming designed to reduce overly-automatic behavior that can lead to problem outcomes, encourage youth to reflect on their decision-making heuristics, or promote meta-cognition (to "think about thinking"). By helping youth learn and practice new ways to manage their emotional responses to difficult situations through stories, role-playing, small group exercises, and homework, the program encourages what psychologists call "cognitive restructuring," designed to generate lasting gains in youths' behaviors. BAM is a program of Youth Guidance (YG), a Chicago-area non-profit that has been serving Chicago children for 87 years, and currently provides services to 14,000 at-risk students across more than 70 schools through a partnership with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that dates back more than four decades. YG will implement the BAM intervention beginning in the 2013-14 academic year in some of the most distressed schools in Chicago's south and west sides.
The Match Tutors program expands on the nationally recognized innovation of high-dosage, in-school-day tutoring developed in the three Match Charter Public Schools in Boston. Tutoring is embedded into the school day as an elective class, as a supplement to the regular classroom math teacher. Every student works with a full-time, professional tutor in addition to their other classes, so that the class offered by Match Tutors will be given for credit, not as a pull-out or afterschool intervention As a regular part of their school day, students will attend tutoring for 50 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The tutoring course, entitled Mathematics Lab, has been granted credit-bearing status by CPS and will be offered each semester within a school year so that students will earn one elective credit upon completion of the course. Math Lab offers a standards-based curriculum that is individualized to each student's needs with the goal of complementing the work done in math classes - preparing students for city and state math assessments, enabling them to pass math class finals, and helping students build skills and habits of learning that will help them succeed in school and beyond.