Increasing the Reach of Promising Dropout Prevention Programs

The inability to consistently deliver promising education interventions at large scale is an important contributing cause to inequality in the U.S. The research team applies insights from price theory and field-based randomized controlled trials to examine the effect of implementing a promising academic skills development program at large scale before implementing at scale. The project is designed to provide evidence of direct scientific and policy value for attempts to scale-up a specific intervention, but also stimulate much more investigation of social policy scale-up challenges by refining these methods and demonstrating their feasibility and value.

The research team examines the challenge of program scale-up for a promising intervention studied in Chicago at medium scale in the past - "SAGA tutoring". Past work has demonstrated that SAGA's intensive, individualized, during-the-school-day math tutoring can generate very large gains in academic outcomes in a short period, even among students who are many years behind grade level. This study will explicitly explore the extent to which there is a trade-off between effectiveness and scale for this intervention. By taking advantage of the power of random sampling, this study will also allow for observation of the program's effectiveness as if it were running at three-and-a-half times the proposed scale in a subset of the study population.

RFP Cycle:
SPRI RFP IV [Nov 2015]
United States of America
  • Full project