Even older teens benefit from catch-up classes
There is considerable research on the benefits of intervening early when a child is falling behind at school. Intuitively, teachers and parents know that it’s much harder to improve a person’s academic trajectory later in life. Meanwhile, interventions aimed at teenagers, such as dropout prevention programs, often disappoint.
But researchers occasionally find things that work with high schoolers. One such example is a remedial high school program in Israel, now defunct, that gave thousands of disadvantaged and lower achieving 16- and 17-year-olds after-school instruction in small groups, similar to tutoring. A 2005 evaluation found that the program raised the number of students who passed a series of difficult high school exams required for university entrance, earning what is called a Bagrut certificate, by 13 percentage points compared to similar students who didn’t get the extra help.
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