Effects of an evidence-based positive youth development program on academic outcomes among adolescents living in non-metropolitan communities
We implemented a cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate an evidence-based positive youth development program, the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), in 26 high schools in 10 Florida counties. This analysis aims to identify differences in academic outcomes between youth participants and a matched control group of youth, from baseline to one year after program completion.
Youth from treatment and control schools completed a paper-and-pencil survey at baseline (September 2012; N=3621) and one year after the program ended (March 2014; N=2660). Measured academic outcomes included: course failure, failing grades, school suspension, and cutting class. Odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using logistic regression in SAS version 9.4.
Controlling for baseline risk, age, gender, and school matched pairs, we found a statistically significant effect in the treatment group, compared to the control group, for failing grades [OR 0.813, 95% CI (0.665, 0.994), p=0.0434]. No significant effects were found for course failure, school suspension, or cutting class.
Our findings suggest that TOP reduces the risk of youth earning failing grades, but otherwise may not impact other academic outcomes. This finding differs from Allen et al.’s (1997) study of the TOP, which found statistically significantly less risk among treatment youth (vs. control youth) for all outcomes tested in our analysis. Since the current study was implemented in a school setting, and had a larger sample and a more longitudinal design, these findings may better reflect the effects of the TOP in school settings.
Learning Areas:Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Identify differences in academic outcomes between youth participants in the Teen Outreach Program and a matched control group of youth, from baseline to one year after program completion. Describe how the current study’s findings relate to results of previous evaluations of the Teen Outreach Program.
Keyword(s): Adolescents, Evaluation
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI on this project, which began in 2010 and is ending in 2015. It was a federally funded RCT evaluation in Florida (>$2.5 million). I wrote the competitive proposal (with the Florida Department of Health) to the U.S. Office of Adolescent Health and was subsequently funded to do the work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.