Program

Dec 28, 2010

OVERVIEW

Challenging Horizons is an
after-school program that teaches students study and organizational skills in
small groups. In a random assignment evaluation of the program, students had
improved parent-rated academic progress, self-esteem, and behavior, but there
were mixed impacts in teacher-rated outcomes.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:Middle school students

Challenging Horizons is an
after-school program that operates four days per week for two hours each day.
The program is run in school classrooms immediately following the school day.
During the program, students participate in two 35-minute groups per day;
academic remediation and one of four skills groups. The skills groups include
academic interventions to teach study skills, individual goals to target
identified problem areas, organization to learn manualized organizational
systems, and homework/time management to learn about planning ahead for
long-term assignments. The academic remediation group is based on school
district standardized test curriculum. Students are able to participate in and
lead recreational activities based on their behavior level during the program.
Parents receive report cards summarizing their child’s behavioral and academic
performance during the week.

The program is staffed by
college psychology majors who are required participate in a week of training and
to pass a test on rules and procedures.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Langberg, J. M., Smith, B.
H., Bogle, K. E., Schmidt, J. D., Cole, W. R., & Pender, C. A. S. (2006). A
pilot evaluation of small group Challenging Horizons Program (CHIP): A
randomized trial. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 23(1).

Evaluated Population:Forty-eight 6th
and 7th grade students from two schools in Columbia, South Carolina
participated in this pilot study. Students ranged in age from 11 to 13.
Schools were 65 percent African American and 35 percent white. More than half
of the students were eligible for subsidized or free lunches.

Approach:Students were randomly assigned
to the Challenging Horizons group or a control group. Students in the control
group participated in a district-run after-school program for one to three days
per week for two hours each day. Each day of the district-run program focused
on a specific subject, such as math or science. Students attended on the days
of subjects on which they scored “below basic” on the Palmetto Achievement
Challenge Test. Students were evaluated at the end of the first semester of
school on problem behaviors, ADHD symptoms, grades, and discipline records.

Results:Intervention group students had
significantly improved parent-rated academic progress, self-esteem, organization
and homework completion, and problem behavior when compared with the control
group students. There was no impact on parent-rated homework completion and
marginally significant and/or mixed impacts on teacher-rated academic progress,
grades, and problem behavior.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

References:

Langberg, J. M., Smith, B. H.,
Bogle, K. E., Schmidt, J. D., Cole, W. R., & Pender, C. A. S. (2006). A pilot
evaluation of small group Challenging Horizons Program (CHIP): A randomized
trial. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 23(1).

KEYWORDS: Children, Adolescents,
Middle School, Males and Females, Black/African American, School-based, Skills
Training, After School Program, Other Behavioral Problems, Academic Achievement,
Other Education.

Program information last updated 12/28/2010.