Effective - One study
Date: This profile was posted on September 08, 2015
Also known as the Eisenhower Foundation’s Quantum Opportunities Program, the program is an intensive, year-round, multicomponent intervention for high-risk minority students from inner-city neighborhoods, which is provided throughout all 4 years of high school. The program is rated Effective. Program participants had significantly higher grade point averages, high school graduation rates, and college acceptance rates as compared with control group youths.
Program Goals/Target Population
The Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities (also known as the Eisenhower Foundation’s Quantum Opportunities Program) is an intensive, year-round, multicomponent intervention for disadvantaged teens during their 4 years in high school. The program was designed as a youth-investment and youth-development intervention for high-risk minority students in inner- city neighborhoods. Youths targeted by the program are considered at risk of academic failure. The goal of the program is to improve academic achievement and attitudes toward school, increase rates of high school graduation and the number of students who advance to postsecondary education or training, and decrease problem behaviors.
The intervention consists of tutoring, mentoring, life skills training, college preparation youth leadership training, and modest financial stipends. Youths are provided with services over all 4 years of high school. Program participants are referred to as Quantum Associates.
- Tutoring. The tutoring component of the program is designed to help Quantum Associates improve in academic areas where they may have deficits. For example, students may enter high school with deficiencies in math and reading. Paid and volunteer tutors work with students on general homework assignments or provide specialized tutoring in specific subjects. Tutors also collaborate with teachers to ensure students’ work is getting done properly. Most tutors also serve as mentors.
- Mentoring. Individual and group mentoring is provided to Quantum Associates. The “deep mentoring” provided by the program is designed to be more intensive and of longer duration than conventional types of mentoring. Associates are matched with a mentor in 9th grade, and the mentor remains with the Associate through senior year (unless the relationship does not work, in which case a new mentor is assigned). The long-term relationships between the mentor and mentee help to ensure that the Associate will achieve academically, prepare for college, and learn life and youth-leadership skills. Mentors are expected to build relationships with the Associates; get to know their friends and family; visit their homes to discuss problems and find solutions; and meet with teachers and school counselors, if necessary. If possible, mentors and tutors may attend parent–teacher conferences (and even stand in for parents who can’t attend). As needed, mentors also help represent Associates if they come into contact with public agencies, such as the criminal justice system.
- Life-skills training. Youths who are at risk academically may also face other life challenges. Mentors work with Associates to teach life, personal, and social skills that build resilience and help youths navigate developmental tasks. Life skills include social awareness, decision making, personal and family responsibility, health awareness, cultural awareness, civic responsibility, and job readiness. The skills are taught through facilitated discussion, structured small group activities, role-playing scenarios, and team-building exercises. Mentors also provide college counseling, guide SAT/ACT preparation, assist with applications for college admission and financial aid, lead field trips to local colleges, and help Associates identify internships or secure summer employment.
- Youth leadership. This component of the program requires Quantum Associates to achieve a personal outcome and a community outcome. The personal outcome encourages Associates to continue onto postsecondary education after high school graduation, and thereby serve as role models in their communities. For the community outcome, Associates are required to participate in a youth-led project that improves the status of their communities or schools in some measureable way (examples of leadership ventures include a campaign against HIV/AIDS, a literacy program for parents, and a college scholarship program.). The overall goal of the youth-leadership component is to empower youth.
- Modest stipends. Finally, Quantum Associates are provided with a stipend of $1.25 per hour to participate. This is used to help cover personal and family expenses. The use of stipends is also integrated into the life-skills training component, during discussion on personal financial management.
The Eisenhower Quantum Model is based on an earlier version of the Quantum Opportunities Program, which was implemented in 1990. The earlier version involved tutoring (including the use of the eXtralearning online system), individual and group mentoring, life-skills training, community services, stipends ($1.25 per hour), bonuses for youths, savings accounts for youths, and bonuses for staff. As described above, the Eisenhower Quantum Model also includes tutoring (though eXtralearning was replaced with hands-on tutoring), individual and group mentoring, life-skills training, and stipends (the $1.25 per hour rate was continued). The community service component has been replaced by youth-leadership training. Also, the savings accounts as well as bonuses for staff are not implemented.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Curtis and Bandy (2015) aggregated the results across all five sites, and found that youths who participated in the Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities (referred to as Quantum Associates) had a significantly higher final GPA compared with control group youths. Quantum Associates had a final GPA of 2.33 compared with a final GPA of 1.76 for control youths.
Aggregating the results across all five sites, Quantum Associates also had a significantly higher graduation rate compared with control group youths. Approximately 76 percent of Quantum Associates graduated from high school, compared with 40 percent of control youths.
College Acceptance Rates
Aggregating the results across all five sites, Quantum Associates also had a significantly higher college acceptance rate compared with control group youths.
Curtis and Bandy (2015) conducted a randomized controlled evaluation of the Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities over 4 years at public high schools in Albuquerque, N.M.; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and New Bedford, Mass. Students were eligible to participate in the program if they were first-time freshmen in high school and were identified as at risk for academic failure. Eighty students from each high school received an application form and consent packets to complete. A total of 300 youths (60 per site) were selected for the study. Eligible participants were randomized with a computer-generated algorithm. A total of 151 youths were randomly assigned to participate in the program, and the remaining 149 youths were assigned to the control group.
The average age of the Eisenhower Quantum program participants (referred to as Quantum Associates) was 15.9 years. A little over half of the group (53.3 percent) was female. Approximately 38 percent of the group was African American, 42 percent was Latino, and 20 percent was other race/ethnicity. Almost 80 percent of the Quantum Associates received free or reduced lunch. The average age of control group youths was 16.1 years. Less than half of the group (46.7 percent) was female. Approximately 40 percent of the group was African American, 34 percent was Latino, and 26 percent was other race/ethnicity. Almost 86 percent of the control group received free or reduced lunch. There were no significant differences between the groups at baseline. There were also no significant differences across the five sites.
The primary outcomes of interest were academic achievement, high school graduation, and college acceptance. Academic achievement was measured by calculating the final-year-mean grade point average from official school report cards. High school graduation was measured as the number of youths who received their official academic diploma. College acceptance was measured by the number of youths who submitted a letter from a postsecondary institution indicating that they were accepted, or who were listed in their high school commencement book as accepted to a postsecondary institution.
An intent-to-treat analysis was used to analyze the data. Chi-square analyses were conducted to test for group differences at the end of the intervention.
Curtis and Bandy (2015) found that the average cost per youth over 4 years of high school was $13,150 (in 2015 dollars). This was the average cost at all five sites included in the evaluation study. The calculated cost was based on staff, stipends, travel, and other expenses. The cost did not include technical assistance, evaluation, or indirect costs.
The Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities intervention required up to 410 hours of participation per year per program participant (referred to as a Quantum Associate). This was divided into 180 hours per year for tutoring and mentoring; 180 hours per year for life skills training; and 50 hours per year for youth leadership/community service. However, the evaluation by Curtis and Bandy (2015) found that the average total amount of time per year per Quantum Associate was 291 hours (including 135 hours for tutoring and mentoring, 112 hours for life skills training, and 44 hours for youth leadership/community service). This finding suggests that students participated in fewer hours per year than was expected. This was the average number of hours for years 2–4 of the intervention, as time was required in the 1st year to initiate the program and construct work plans. A copy to the Eisenhower Quantum Program Guide can be found on the Eisenhower Foundation’s Web site: http://www.eisenhowerfoundation.org/docs/Program%20Guide%20Quantum.pdf A copy of the Eisenhower Quantum Deep Mentoring Training Curriculum can also be found on the Web site: http://publicprofit.net/site/uploads/Files/Examplesofourwork/Deep_Mentoring_Training_Guide.pdf
Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:Study 1
Curtis, Alan, and Tawana Bandy. 2015. The Quantum Opportunities Program: A Randomized Control Evaluation
. Washington, D.C.: The Eisenhower Foundation.
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:
Curtis, Alan, and Tawana Bandy. 2016. The Quantum Opportunities Program: A Randomized Control Evaluation
. Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: The Eisenhower Foundation.