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IES Grant

Title: A Curriculum Engagement: Micro-Process Interventions in Middle and High School to Improve Attendance, Behavior, Achievement and Grade Promotion for At-Risk Ninth Graders
Center: NCER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Legters, Nettie Awardee: Johns Hopkins University
Program: Improving Education Systems      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,499,430
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A080211
Description:

Purpose: Prior research points to the possibility of improving student outcomes by directly addressing students' academic engagement/disengagement. The purpose of this project is to develop and conduct a feasibility study for an intervention designed to improve attendance, behavior, achievement, and grade promotion for ninth-graders at-risk for dropping out of high school.

Project Activities: The research team is developing an intervention with three components: an attendance outreach and incentive program, an academic counseling and support program, and a team-based behavior management program. It is intended to operate at the level of teachers' and students' daily interactions. The project begins with the expectation of multiple cycles of design, prototype development, observation and testing, and redesign, and proceeds through refinement to feasibility testing and pilot implementation in two high schools and two feeder middle schools across two districts.

Products: Products from this project include an intervention program aimed at at-risk students in low-performing high schools and designed to provide students with the support, skills, incentives, and perspectives they need to negotiate the transition to high school successfully, thus reducing the risk of high school dropout.

Setting: The participating high schools are in North Carolina and Maryland.

Population: The participating high schools serve large numbers of poor and minority students and are further characterized by low achievement scores, weak promoting power, low graduation, and high dropout rates.

Intervention: The intervention's working components include an attendance outreach and incentive program, an academic counseling and support program, and a team-based behavior management program. Each component is designed to address a specific point of disengagement that many struggling students experience during the transition into high school, and to provide students with the support, skills, incentives, and perspectives they need to negotiate the transition successfully.

Research Designs and Methods: The project begins with an initial development phase to generate a beta-version intervention prototype made up of materials, tools, and training processes for each component. The intervention will then be further developed through a feasibility study involving pilot implementation in two high schools and two feeder middle schools across two districts. The feasibility study follows an iterative development model made up of multiple implementation-feedback-development cycles. Using frequent and formal feedback mechanisms including facilitator logs, feedback forms, observations, individual and focus group interviews, and surveys, the study will investigate the usefulness of the interventions, strengths and limitations of the materials and training, and improvements needed to overcome barriers to implementation and enhance effectiveness.

Key Measures: The study includes preliminary pre/post analyses of attendance and grade promotion data to assess whether the intervention holds promise for keeping students engaged in school and on track toward graduation.

Data Analytic Strategy: Feedback and findings will inform final development of an alpha-version intervention prototype in preparation for more widespread field testing and rigorous evaluation.

Publications from this project:

Davis, M., Herzog, L. and Legters, N. (2013). Organizing Schools To Address Early Warning Indicators (Ewis): Common Practices and Challenges. Journal Of Education For Students Placed At Risk, 18: 84–100.

Herzog, L., Davis, M.H., and Legters, N. (2012). Learning What It Takes: An Initial Look At How Schools Are Using Early Warning Indicator Data and Collaborative Response Teams To Keep All Students On Track To Success. Baltimore, MD: Everyone Graduates Center.

Mac Iver, M. A. and Mac Iver, D.J. (2009). Beyond The Indicators: An Integrated School-Level Approach To Dropout Prevention. Arlington, VA: The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, George Washington University Center For Equity and Excellence In Education.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Middle and High School Reform in FY 2008.


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