Communities In Schools Launches Major Research Study of Dropout Prevention

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Randomized control trial will study more than 2000 students in five communities to measure the effectiveness of dropout prevention model

The willingness of Communities In Schools to examine its practices and programs through rigorous evaluation by independent researchers is laudable. - Dr. William Corrin, MDRC Principal Investigator

Communities In Schools, the leading organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life, today announced one of the largest research studies of dropout prevention ever fielded in the United States.

The research study includes two complementary evaluations. One evaluation focuses on the impact of CIS case managed services on individual students’ attendance, behavior, course performance, promotion, dropout and graduation. 2,241 students are participating in a randomized control trial (the gold standard in social science research) across 28 schools in five communities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. It will also include a cost study to examine variation in resource allocation across CIS school sites and relationships between cost and outcomes. Results from the 2012-2013 school year will be released in 2014.

“Building on our extensive national evaluation, this study will give us further evidence to refine and improve our programs, and provide even greater impact for young people, their families and their communities,” said Dr. Heather Clawson, Vice President of Research, Evaluation and Innovation at Communities In Schools.

The study is being conducted by MDRC, one of the nation’s leading nonpartisan, nonprofit social and educational policy research firms. Costing almost $3 million, the study was underwritten by Edna McConnell Clark Foundation / Social Innovation Fund grant as part of their commitment to strengthening the body of evidence for effective interventions.    

“The willingness of Communities In Schools to examine its practices and programs through rigorous evaluation by independent researchers is laudable. This evaluation will not only provide useful information to CIS about its work, but also build evidence about the implementation and impact of integrated student services in school settings,” said Dr. William Corrin, MDRC Principal Investigator.

The other evaluation focuses on the school-level impact of CIS. This evaluation is a comparative interrupted time series study that will compare school-level outcomes for approximately 60 CIS sites with a comparison group of non-CIS sites.

This is the second comprehensive evaluation that Communities In Schools has undergone. A previous study, which included randomized control trials and a quasi-experimental matched comparison study was conducted from 2005 through 2010.

About Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Through a school-based site coordinator, Communities In Schools connects students and their families to critical community resources, tailored to local needs. Working in nearly 2,400 schools, in the most challenged communities in 27 states and the District of Columbia, Communities In Schools serves more than 1.2 million young people and their families every year. It has been shown through an independent evaluation to be the nation’s only dropout prevention organization proven to both increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates. Visit our website at

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Mike Bento
Communities In Schools
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