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Improving Life Chances of Disadvantaged Youth: Testing Best-Practice Academic vs. Non-Academic Supports Through a Large-Scale Randomized Control Trial in Chicago
Last registered on September 12, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Improving Life Chances of Disadvantaged Youth: Testing Best-Practice Academic vs. Non-Academic Supports Through a Large-Scale Randomized Control Trial in Chicago
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000041
Initial registration date
September 12, 2014
Last updated
September 12, 2014 12:37 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Chicago Crime Lab
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of California Irvine
PI Affiliation
Northwestern University
PI Affiliation
Temple University
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2013-08-26
End date
2015-06-12
Secondary IDs
NIH # NCT01927523
Abstract
The University of Chicago Crime Lab is conducting two closely-interconnected large-scale randomized social experiments in close collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), to learn more about the relative cost-effectiveness of investing in academic skills vs. non-academic factors that affect youth life outcomes, the synergy of investing in both domains simultaneously, and the key mediators and moderators of these effects.


External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Cook, Philip et al. 2014. "Improving Life Chances of Disadvantaged Youth: Testing Best-Practice Academic vs. Non-Academic Supports Through a Large-Scale Randomized Control Trial in Chicago ." AEA RCT Registry. September 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.41-1.0.
Former Citation
Cook, Philip et al. 2014. "Improving Life Chances of Disadvantaged Youth: Testing Best-Practice Academic vs. Non-Academic Supports Through a Large-Scale Randomized Control Trial in Chicago ." AEA RCT Registry. September 12. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/41/history/2729.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
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.
Intervention Start Date
2013-08-26
Intervention End Date
2015-06-12
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Violent crime arrests; Property crime arrests; Drug crime arrests; and "Other" arrests (excluding motor vehicle violations); Index of CPS schooling outcomes; Math standardized achievement test scores

All arrests will be measured using Illinois State Police (ISP) arrest records. The ISP records capture arrests in the state going back to 1990 and include arrests of people below the age of majority within the criminal justice system (juvenile arrests), as well as to those who are above the age of majority. Local police departments are required by law to report all juvenile felony arrests to the ISP, and optionally class A and B misdemeanors.

All school related outcomes will be measured using Chicago Public School records.

We will also be looking at outcomes by the following key subgroups: by race; by baseline math test scores; and by baseline risk level as measured by the risk index created to identify the study sample.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary outcomes that we will be looking at include the individual components of the CPS index, math standardized achievement test scores, and monetized values of total criminal activity by the youth. The CPS index components include the absentee rate, number of student misconducts, total courses failed, school persistence measurement (enrollment or graduation status by the end of the academic year).
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The Crime Lab will carry out a large 2 x 2 randomized controlled trial, in which some male youth (9th and 10th grade) are randomly assigned to receive two years of what we believe to be best-practice intensive academic supports (high-dosage math tutoring provided by Match Education in Boston), or two years of what we believe to be best-practice non-academic supports, for which we have identified the Becoming a Man (BAM) program that provides a version of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that essentially tries to change judgment and decision-making processes for youth, or to receive both, or neither (control condition).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual student (assigned blocking on school and grade for students in academic year 2013-2014)
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,147 male youth who are rising 9th and 10th graders for the 2013-2014 academic year
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
775 youth in the control group
470 youth will be offered BAM-only services for two years, out of which we expect around 396 to consent and choose to participate in programming
486 youth assigned to participate in high-dosage math tutoring delivered by Match for two years, out of which we expect 360 to consent and participate in services
434 assigned to be offered both BAM and high-dosage Match math tutoring for two years, out of which we expect 325 to participate
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
80% power for all: Violent Arrests (0.058 arrests, 0.364 SD); Property Arrests (0.043 arrests, 0.266 SD); Drug Arrests (0.091 arrests, 0.570 SD); Other Arrests (0.121 arrests, 0.759 SD); School Engagement Index (0.109 points, 0.683 SD)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board at the University of Chicago
IRB Approval Date
2013-06-24
IRB Approval Number
N/A
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 and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers