Improving schooling and life outcomes of disadvantaged youth is a top priority in the US, but to date not many interventions have been shown to improve the outcomes of these youth, especially males. The core theme of our larger program project is to assess the most effective (and cost-effective) ways to improve long-term life outcomes for disadvantaged youth, with an emphasis on the closely related outcomes of schooling attainment, risky and criminal behavior, and violence involvement. We seek to address this core theme by carrying out a large scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) in Chicago. In the summer of 2013 we identified a study sample of 2,134 males entering 9th and 10th grade in 12 public high schools on Chicago's south and west sides, working in close collaboration with Chicago Public Schools (CPS). These youth were randomized to receive a very promising academic intervention (high-dosage math tutoring delivered by Match Education, which in previous non-experimental studies by our collaborator Roland Fryer have been found to boost math scores by 0.5 to 0.7 standard deviations for 6th and 9th graders), or to a very promising non-academic intervention (a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called """"""""Becoming a Man,"""""""" or BAM, developed and implemented by a non-profit in Chicago, Youth Guidance), or to receive both, or neither. The interventions were launched in August 2013 for the 2013-14 academic year with outside (non-NICHD) support. NICHD support is being requested to extend both interventions for a second year (AY2014-15), through projects 1 and 2, and to carry out in-person data collection in AY2015-16 to measure outcomes and candidate mediating mechanisms. The implementation and administrative data core will be carried out by core lead Gretchen Cusick, program manager Elana Dean and an implementation manager, John Wolf, and will: (1) help oversee and manage the successful implementation of the two interventions we would study in Projects 1 and 2, both of which will be carried out in the exact same set of 12 CPS high schools and so create economies of scale in implementation monitoring;(2) measure program implementation for use in the analysis, since we hypothesize that implementation quality and fidelity of both interventions will influence their effects on all of the mediators and outcomes we measure, and so be relevant for Projects 1, 2 and 3;(3) as part of the measurement of program implementation and dosage (also relevant for all projects), collect administrative data from the non-profit organizations that will deliver the interventions, as well as from the city of Chicago's Cityspan system and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS);(4) expand the scope of longitudinal administrative data collection from CPS and other agencies to help with the tracking of youth respondents for the in-person data collection we propose (to support Project 3), and (5) expand the set of outcomes we can use for analysis of short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the interventions we study (relevant for Projects 1 and 2). The objectives of the present core will be complemented by two other cores: the administrative core and analysis and dissemination core.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
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University of Chicago
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Heller, Sara B; Shah, Anuj K; Guryan, Jonathan et al. (2017) Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago. Q J Econ 132:1-54