Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Youth Participatory Action Research in the Secondary Curriculum
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Voight, Adam Awardee: Cleveland State University
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (08/01/2020 - 07/31/2024) Award Amount: $1,399,069
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A200305

Co-Principal Investigators: Buckley-Marudas, Molly; Linick, Matthew; D'Amico, Nicolas; Ozer, Emily

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop and document the feasibility of a school-based youth participatory action research intervention intended to improve student academic achievement and engagement and school social and behavioral context.

Project Activities: Researchers will develop, refine, and pilot test the toolkit. They will follow a design-based research approach during the development phase and use a quasi-experimental design to assess the promise of the intervention. They will also gather information about the cost of implementation.

Products: The product of this study will be a toolkit that includes activities and lesson plans aligned with academic standards and considerations for implementation. Researchers will also generate evidence of promise for the toolkit and information about the cost of implementation. They will report findings from the study in conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in public urban secondary schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sample: The study sample will include approximately 200 predominantly low- income, African-American and Hispanic students in grades 9 to 12.

Intervention: The intervention will be a youth participatory action research program wherein participating students conduct a needs assessment of problems impeding student success in their school, research selected problems using learned quantitative and qualitative research methods, and use the knowledge generated from their research to inform school improvements.

Research Design and Methods: The intervention will be developed and refined using design-based research conducted collaboratively by project staff and teachers and students from the participating schools. To assess the effectiveness of the intervention on the education outcomes of participating students, researchers will use a quasi-experimental design. A group of students from each participating school will be selected nonrandomly by school staff from the larger student body to participate in the intervention. Pre- and post-test scores will measure change in academic achievement and engagement and perceptions of school climate among intervention and comparison groups. Students in the intervention will be matched with similar (based on demographics and pre-test scores) nonparticipating students using propensity score matching. A similar quasi-experimental design will be used to assess school-level outcomes of the intervention by assessing changes in school-average student achievement and engagement and perceptions of school climate and comparing changes to those of nonparticipating schools in the same district.

Control Condition: Students in the comparison condition will receive business as usual for their school.

Key Measures: Outcome measures will include tests of student academic achievement, retention, academic perseverance, attendance rates, discipline referrals, and perceptions of school climate. Process measures will include logs of program contact hours, observation protocols, self-report surveys, and open-ended interviews with participating and nonparticipating students and staff.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will estimate multilevel regression models with controls and propensity score matching models to assess the effect of the intervention on participating student outcomes. They will supplement these models with qualitative in-depth interviews with student participants and school staff. Multilevel regression models with controls and propensity score matching methods as well as qualitative in-depth interviews with participating and non-participating students and school staff will be used to assess the effect of intervention on participating schools.

Cost Analysis: The researchers will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of the YPAR intervention that will allow schools and districts to compare the YPAR intervention to other interventions and identify which strategy will maximize outcomes for any given cost or produce a given outcome for the lowest cost.

Related Projects: Cleveland Alliance for School Climate Research (R305H170068)