WWC review of this study

Promoting school completion of urban secondary youth with emotional or behavioral disabilities.

Sinclair, M. F., Christenson, S. L., & Thurlow, M. L. (2005). Exceptional Children, 71(4), 465–482.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    144
     Students
    , grades
    9-12
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: September 2017

Completing school outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index
Show Supplemental Findings

Completed high school or GED

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
143 students

34

30

No

--
More Outcomes

Completed high school or GED on time

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
144 students

30

29

No

--
Staying in school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Did not drop out (%)

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
144 students

61

42

Yes

 
 
18
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Still enrolled after four years

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
144 students

31

14

Yes

 
 
23

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 70% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 16%
    Male: 84%
  • Race
    Black
    64%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
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    • Q
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    • V
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    • X
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    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
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    • y

    Minnesota

Setting

The study was conducted in 7 urban schools in Minnesota. High school students were served beginning in 9th grade.

Study sample

Participants had to be in special education and had to be receiving services associated with emotional or behavioral issues. Most students were African-American (64%), males (84%), and most participated in the free or reduced-price lunch program (70%). Students were 14.5 years old, on average, when they entered the 9th grade (see p. 468). The authors report that there were no significant differences between treatment and control groups on key subgroup measures.

Intervention Group

Students in the Check and Connect program had their attendance, behavior, and academic performance monitored on a regular basis. Participants were also assigned a "monitor", who functioned as a mentor and case worker and stayed with the student even if he/she transferred to another school within the district. Monitors intervened with the student as soon as an attendance, performance, or a behavior problem arose and worked with them to address the underlying problem. Participating students kept the same monitor throughout their high school career.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was business as usual. Comparison group students did not receive Check and Connect services.

Support for implementation

Monitors participated in an initial orientation workshop. They also attended weekly or biweekly staff meetings and periodic staff development sessions. Each monitor received instructions on how to complete the monitoring sheet to ensure consistency across monitors and settings. Monitors submitted printouts of attendance records with their monitoring sheets for verification purposes.

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: May 2015

Completing school outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Completed high school or GED on time

Check & Connect vs. business as usual

Grade 12 in year 4

Grade 12;
144 students

30

29

Yes

 
 
1
Staying in school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Percentage dropped out

Check & Connect vs. business as usual

End of the fourth year after random assignment

Grade 12;
144 students

39

58

Yes

 
 
18

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 70% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 16%
    Male: 84%
  • Race
    Black
    64%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Minnesota

Setting

The study was conducted with eligible students in seven Minneapolis public high schools.

Study sample

This replication of the Check & Connect intervention included special education students who entered ninth grade in 1996 (cohort 1) and 1997 (cohort 2). To be eligible for the intervention, participants had to be classified as having an emotional or behavioral disorder. Of the 206 eligible students across the two cohorts, 164 (80%) received permission to participate in the study. Most students were African American (64%), most were males (84%), and most participated in the free or reduced-price lunch program (70%). Students were 14.5-years-old, on average, when they entered ninth grade. Within each cohort, students who were eligible and who had permission to participate in the study were randomly assigned to receive Check & Connect or to serve as a comparison group.

Intervention Group

The intervention group participated in Check & Connect for 4 years, starting in ninth grade. Of the 85 students who were assigned to the Check & Connect condition and had parental consent to participate, 71 students participated in the intervention and completed the study. Students had their attendance, behavior, and academic performance observed on a daily basis by their monitor, who also functioned as a mentor and case worker. The monitor stayed with the student even if the student transferred to another school within the district. Monitors met with students at least twice a month and more often when acute attendance, performance, or behavior problems arose.

Comparison Group

Comparison group students attended the same schools as intervention students but did not receive Check & Connect.

Outcome descriptions

The outcomes from this study that are eligible under the WWC Dropout Prevention Protocol, version 3.0 are the percentage of students who had dropped out of school at the end of the fourth year following random assignment and the percentage of students who either completed high school or their GED by the end of the fourth year.8 For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Information about implementation of Check & Connect focuses primarily on the training and support provided to monitors. Monitors were overseen by a project coordinator, who was a school psychologist and former Check & Connect monitor. Monitors participated in an initial orientation workshop. They also attended weekly or biweekly staff meetings and periodic staff development sessions. Each monitor received instructions on how to complete the monitoring sheet to ensure consistency across monitors and settings. Monitors submitted printouts of attendance records with their monitoring sheets for verification purposes.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Sinclair, M. F., Christenson, S. L., Evelo, D. L., Hurley, C. M., Kau, M. Y., Logan, D. T., …Westberry, D. (2001). Persistence Plus: Using Check & Connect procedures to improve service delivery and positive post-school outcomes for secondary students with serious emotional disturbance (CDFA No. 84.237H). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.

Does not meet WWC standards

Reviewed: February 2014

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: October 2011

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
 

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