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Abstract

In 1992, the U.S. Departments of Defense and Education created a new high school program aimed at encouraging at-risk youth to remain in school until graduation. The program is a marriage of the defense-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers’s Training Corps (JROTC) program and a comprehensive high school reform initiative referred to as career academies. This report focuses on an examination of the effects of the JROTC Career Academy program on student outcomes, including grades, attendance, and graduation. The authors found that grade-point averages for the JROTC Career Academy students were significantly higher than would have been expected if they had been in the standard academic program in six of ten cases. The differences in grade-point averages were generally substantial, with most in the range of one-quarter to one-half grade point. In seven of ten cases, absenteeism for the JROTC Career Academy students was significantly lower than what would have been expected if they had been enrolled in the standard academic program. These differences were dramatic, with absenteeism less than half of what would have been expected in a majority of cases. The major motivational factor that students in focus groups mentioned was the nurturing environment the JROTC Career Academy afforded them.

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The study was under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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