Becoming a Man (BAM) - Sports Edition Findings

The University of Chicago
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While non-academic or “social-cognitive” skills are important predictors of student outcomes, schools (particularly secondary schools) devote little explicit attention to such skills after the first few grades–perhaps partly because of uncertainty about whether these types of skills are actually amenable to policy intervention. A randomized field experiment in the Chicago Public Schools assigned 2,740 disadvantaged males in grades 7-10 to one year of social-cognitive skill development through in-school and after-school programming, or to a control group. Participation increased schooling outcomes by 0.14 standard deviations during the program year and 0.19 standard deviations in the subsequent year, effects which may translate to a 10 to 23 percent increase in graduation rates relative to the control group once the youth are old enough to graduate. The intervention also reduced violent-crime arrests during the program year by 8.1 per 100 youth, or 44 percent. Student surveys provide suggestive evidence that social-cognitive skills mediate these impacts. Dollar-valued benefits to society range from 3 to 31 times the $1,100 per-participant program cost.

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