Program

Jul 03, 2012

OVERVIEW

Accelerated Academics Academy is part of the Accelerated Middle Schools, which is a dropout prevention program designed for middle school students. Serving students in grades 6 to 8 who are behind by at least two academic grade levels, Accelerated Academics Academy operates out of an alternative school by providing day-long classes within a small setting. The program relies on a curriculum that condenses two academic years into one year, with the goal that these students will then enter high school on par with their peers. An evaluation of the program found no impacts on the number of days absent from school, English grades, math grades, reading test scores, and math test scores, self-esteem, or certainty of completing high school.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Middle school students performing two grade levels behind their academic grade level

Accelerated Academics Academy is an intensive, day-long alternative middle school designed to condense 2 academic years of middle school into 1 year; the goal is that students will then enter high school on par with their peers. Additional services include counseling and family outreach. Costs associated with implementing this program are between $7,000 and $13,000 per student per year, depending on location. See website for more information.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Dynarski, M., Gleason, P., Rangarajan, A., & Wood, R. (1998). Impacts of dropout prevention programs: Final report. A research report from the School Dropout Demonstration Assistance Program evaluation. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research.

Evaluated population: The study sample had 198 sixth to eighth-grade students in Flint, Michigan, all of whom were behind by at least two grade levels. Among the treatment group, the average age was 13 years, 59 percent were male, 61 percent were black, and 19 percent had a mother with less than a high school education.

Approach: Students were randomly assigned to the Accelerated Academics Academy program (n=113) or control group (n=79). Students assigned to the control group were permitted to participate in other academic programs or services. Students were assessed at baseline as well as approximately 18 and 30 months later. The first cohort was followed for three years while the second cohort was followed for two years; assessments were usually conducted at the end of a school year. Outcomes assessed through self-reports and school records included: school attendance, academic grades, school atmosphere, self-esteem, educational aspirations, disciplinary problems, parental involvement in school activities, reading, TV watching, employment history, substance use, and pregnancy. Students also completed survey questions about student and parent characteristics, including age, race, parent’s educational attainment and employment status, and receipt of public assistance.

Results: There were no impacts on the number of days absent from school, English grades, math grades, reading test scores, math test scores, students’ self-reported academic grades, low self-esteem, or certainty of completing high school. Additionally, there were no impacts on school absences, parental involvement with school activities, reading, TV watching, employment, alcohol consumption, use of other illegal drugs, or pregnancy.

However, there were marginal positive impacts on grade promotion, dropout rates, percentage attending school, and smoking marijuana within the past month. While there were no overall impacts on disciplinary problems, there was a marginal positive impact of fewer treatment group parents receiving a warning about their child’s behavior compared with the control group. There was also a marginal positive impact on aspirations of graduating from college among the Year 2 treatment group cohort; however, there was no impact among the Year 3 cohort. There was no interventional effect on students’ feelings of control in Year 2. In Year 3, however, there was a marginal negative impact on feelings of control among treatment participants.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Dynarski, M., Gleason, P., Rangarajan, A., & Wood, R. (1998). Impacts of dropout prevention programs: Final report. A research report from the School Dropout Demonstration Assistance Program evaluation. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research.

Website: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/dropout/ams/info.asp

KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17), Middle School, School-based, Black/African American, Teen Pregnancy, Self-Esteem/Self-Concept, Academic Achievement/Grades, High School Completion/Dropout, Teen Pregnancy, Cost Information is Available

Program information last updated on 7/3/2012.

Subscribe to Child Trends

Short weekly updates of recent research on children and youth.