Crime Lab New York, Education Lab, Crime Lab Improving Educational Outcomes

Becoming a Man: Reducing Violence and Increasing Graduation

Becoming a Man (BAM) offers high school-aged boys weekly group sessions during the school day and uses behavioral science to help youth navigate the complex, high-stakes situations they are too often forced to face. In two randomized controlled trials, the Crime and Education Labs found that BAM cuts violent-crime arrests among youth in half and boosts the high school graduation rates of participants by nearly 20 percent.

Check & Connect

In partnership with the Chicago Public Schools, the Education Lab evaluated Check & Connect, a program designed to reduce student absenteeism. In preliminary analysis, we found that participation in Check & Connect for students in grades 5-7 reduced absences by about 3.5 days (or 20.2%) compared to youth who did not participate in Check & Connect.

Choose to Change

Children’s Home & Aid and Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. created Choose to Change: Your Mind, Your Game to help fill the gap in services to youth who are disconnected from traditional institutions likely to provide social services. Choose to Change engages youth heavily impacted by violence and trauma by connecting them with intensive advocate and wraparound supports along with trauma-informed therapy to help them live safe and successful lives. The Crime Lab and Education Lab partnered with Choose to Change to rigorously evaluate the program’s impact on behavioral and academic outcomes through a randomized controlled trial.

Communities in Schools

Communities In Schools (CIS) is a national organization with the goal of eliminating high school dropout by partnering with schools to bring high-quality social and emotional supports to students at risk of not graduating. In Chicago, CIS coordinates a range of support programs for students in 150 CPS schools through its network of community partners. The Education Lab has worked      with CIS and the Chicago Public Schools to examine the impact of each program model on students’ academic and social-emotional outcomes.

Chicago Public Schools’ Literacy Pilot

Chicago Public Schools Structured Literacy Intervention teaches students reading strategies such as text decoding and encoding that they may have missed earlier in their education while engaging them with age-appropriate, culturally relevant texts. The Education Lab is partnering with the CPS Department of Literacy to pilot this intervention in neighborhood and Options Schools in School Year 2020-21.

Chicago Student Success Initiative

The Chicago Student Success Initiative aims to provide students attending Options Schools, or who are at the most elevated risk of school dropout or violence involvement, with access to a high-quality education and the supports they need to succeed. The Education Lab is working with Chicago Public Schools to identify supports for these students, expand services and interventions in the District, and evaluate solutions for addressing challenges to student success.


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has launched Elevate, a $25 million effort to embed personalized learning into over 30 neighborhood elementary schools located across the city. In partnership with CPS, the Education Lab is evaluating the impact of the initiative on student experience and academic performance.

Embedding Analysts to Support Analytic Work and Increase Agency Capacity

The Crime Lab and Education Lab provide pro bono technical assistance to government agencies and nonprofits that do not have the capacity to meet all of their research and data needs.

Five Year CPS Goal Planning

The Education Lab collaborated with Chicago Public Schools to create a 5-year District Vision for improvement and achievement by helping set data- driven goals that are aligned across the district.      

Genesys Works

Genesys Works is an education and workforce development program that provides high school seniors, particularly those who will be the first in their families to attend college, with work experience, academic support, and mentorship. The Education Lab and the Inclusive Economy Lab are working together to rigorously evaluate Genesys and to measure its impact on participants’ education and employment outcomes.

High School Transitions

While Chicago Public Schools has made great strides in increasing its graduation rate, these improvements have not been realized universally across all student groups, and persistent disparities in educational achievement and attainment persist by race and class. In 2016, the Education Lab partnered with CPS to identify 7th graders who were at the greatest risk of dropping out and offered these students an intensive summer support program.

Increasing Engagement in Remote Learning Efforts and Improving the Use of Khan Academy

With the suspension of in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students may be experiencing learning losses. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) partnered with Khan Academy, a popular computer-assisted learning program, to serve as the primary platform for teaching math in its Summer Learning program. To help CPS understand how to increase engagement with      this remote learning resource, the Education Lab partnered with the district to augment recruitment and learning progress supports for over 10,000 students in its Summer Learning program.

Individualized Learning to Improve Outcomes for Youth in Juvenile Prisons

Youth who are at the most at-risk for violence involvement are also often failed by the traditional education system. The Education Lab has partnered with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice to test the effectiveness of an innovative, individualized virtual schooling program in juvenile correctional facilities.

Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative

Since its creation in 2016, the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative (MMI) has served young men and boys who are at-risk for homelessness, justice system involvement, and becoming a victim of crime. At the request of the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Family & Support Services, the Crime Lab has provided technical assistance in the design and implementation of the initiative, as well as data insights into who is served by MMI, and has created agency-specific reports for the  agencies funding the MMI.

Post-Secondary Champions

To provide the intensive, tailored support many Chicago students need, the Education Lab is partnering with Chicago Public Schools to pilot dedicated Post-Secondary Champions who will take a personalized approach to postsecondary planning, enabling them to support students in reaching their goals.

Post-Secondary Pathways

With support from Crown Family Philanthropies, the Education Lab and the Inclusive Economy Lab are working in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and college success providers to identify effective supports for ensuring CPS students achieve their post-secondary aspirations.

Quiet Time

Quiet Time is a meditation-based intervention developed by the David Lynch Foundation. The Education Lab is partnering with the Foundation and Chicago Public Schools to test if Transcendental Meditation can reduce stress responses, decrease violence involvement, and improve educational outcomes among students.


In partnership with Saga Education and the Chicago Public Schools, the Education Lab has shown that providing individualized math tutoring for an hour a day during the regular school day can substantially improve academic outcomes for youth. Students who participated in this tutoring program gained one to two additional years of math knowledge in a single year, closing the Black - white achievement gap by over a third.

Saga Lit

The Education Lab partnered with Saga Education to pilot and evaluate a program designed to improve early childhood literacy. In two Chicago Public Schools charter schools, first grade students in the Saga Literacy program received intensive, one-on-two literacy tutoring every day during school hours. To test the program’s impact on literacy skills, the Education Lab conducted a randomized controlled trial of Saga’s literacy program for two years with over 300 first grade students.

Saga Online

The Education Lab is partnering with Chicago Public Schools and Saga Education to pilot Saga Online, a completely online math tutoring program for high schoolers in School Year 2020-21, with the goal of reaching 9th and 10th graders in greatest need of more academic support. The Education Lab will rigorously evaluate this pilot’s impact on students’ math outcomes.

Saga Scale-Up

The Education Lab is conducting an evaluation of SAGA Education’s high-intensity tutoring model to examine the extent to which a promising tutoring program can be implemented at relatively large scale.

Saga Tech

In partnership with Saga Education, Chicago Public Schools, and the New York City Department of Education, the Education Lab is evaluating a new lower-cost, blended learning version of Saga’s traditional tutoring model across several high schools in Chicago and New York City. Under this new model, tutors work with students in a 4:1 student-tutor ratio, where pairs of students alternate working independently with an online educational technology platform and with an in-person tutor.

STEM Phoenix Military Academy

Chicago Public Schools and the Education Lab conducted a randomized control trial and a qualitative study of a program providing STEM academic skill development and leadership training to underserved students at the Phoenix Military Academy in the academic years 2015-16 to 2019-20.

Success Bound

To address the need to support the middle-to-high school transition with early middle school interventions, bolstering high school performance and post-secondary outcomes, the Education Lab, in partnership with the Lefkofsky Family Foundation and Chicago Public Schools, is conducting an evaluation of the Success Bound program to understand its influence on students’ middle school, high school, and post-secondary outcomes.

Working on Womanhood

Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood (WOW) is a school-based program that works to address the unique challenges facing young women in Chicago. Using trauma- and behavioral science-informed approaches, WOW is designed to empower young women to build resilience, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. The Education Lab is rigorously evaluating WOW to understand its impacts on mental health, academic achievement, and behavioral outcomes among Chicago Public Schools students.

Youth Advocate Programs

Youth Advocate Program, Inc. (YAP) and the Crime and Education Labs are partnering to implement the first ever randomized controlled trial of YAP’s unique wraparound-advocacy services for youth to evaluate the program’s impact on youth academic and criminal behavioral outcomes.