Megan Millenky and colleagues from MDRC have released a new reporton an evaluation of PACE Center for Girls. PACE, a Florida-based organisation, provides academic and social services to at-risk middle and high school girls. According to the report, PACE operates daily, year-round; on a typical day, girls attend academic classes and receive additional support such as individual counselling, academic advice, and referrals to other services.
The research team used a random assignment design to evaluate the impact of PACE. From August 2013 to November 2015, a sample of 1,125 girls were enrolled in the study (673 in the programme group, and 452 in the control group). Data sources included administrative records, a survey, and interviews.
Key findings from the study were as follows:
- The programme group received more academic and social services — and received them more often from a professional source — than the control group.
- Over a one-year period, PACE increased school enrolment and attendance for the girls it served, compared with the control group. Girls in the programme group were also more likely to be “on track” academically than those in the control group.
- Girls in both the programme and control groups appeared goal-orientated and hopeful about their futures and reported relatively low levels of risky behaviour one year after study enrolment.
- The cost of PACE’s holistic package of services is, on average, $10,400 per pupil more than the cost of the services received by control group members through academic and social services provided in the community. The additional cost is largely driven by PACE’s extensive social services; the cost of academic services is similar to those of Florida public schools.
The authors note that further follow-up research would be necessary to see whether PACE affects longer-term academic and delinquency outcomes and to complete a full benefit-cost analysis.
Source: Focusing on girls’ futures: Results from the evaluation of PACE Center for Girls (January 2019), MDRC