Design, Sites, and Data Sources
The CIS model uses two tiers of prevention and intervention resources and services. Basic prevention and intervention services (Level 1 services) are available for any student in a CIS school. Typically these last for only a few hours or days and address schoolwide needs. Examples would include providing clothing and school supplies, coordinating schoolwide career fairs, bringing in health care professionals to conduct annual screenings, and providing short-term counseling in crisis situations. Level 2 case-managed services are sustained interventions lasting throughout the school year or possibly several years, intended for students at high risk of dropping out: those with poor academic performance, poor attendance records, or frequent misbehavior. These students receive services such as tutoring, mentoring, or individual or group counseling. The idea is that integrating Level 1 and Level 2 services should improve outcomes overall for schools and students.
The evaluation will use two complementary studies to investigate whether or not that is true. The first study is an individual-level randomized control trial in middle schools and high schools, designed to investigate the impact of Level 2 services on individual students. From the pool of students eligible for Level 2 services, a group at each school was selected randomly to receive those services. The other students were assigned to a control group. About 2,000 students have been enrolled from a sample of middle schools and high schools across five participating CIS affiliates in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Data will come from district school records, project-administered student surveys, interviews with school and program staff, program observations, and a project-administered survey of key school-level staff.
The second study uses a comparative interrupted time-series approach to investigate how the CIS model affects whole schools. It will compare the change in outcomes over time for schools that adopted CIS with the corresponding change over time for similar comparison schools that did not adopt it. The difference between the amount CIS program schools improve and the amount the comparison schools improve provides an estimate of the program’s effect. Elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools will be examined in North Carolina and one to two other states or school districts where CIS has a strong presence. Data for comparisons will come from state data warehouses, school district records, CIS records, and the national Common Core of Data.