This research focuses on the role of self-discipline, perseverance and motivation in reducing school dropouts in France’s middle schools located in underprivileged areas.
The educational objective of the Energie Jeunes (EJ) Program is to encourage perseverance and to develop self-discipline in underprivileged middle school’s pupils. The program is based on three sessions of 55 minutes in classrooms, every year in front of all pupils from grade 6 to grade 9.
In November 2016, the research team published their first interim report on the results of the evaluation of EJ program’s impact after the first year following the implementation in two grade 6 pupils-cohort. At that point, the pupils normally have already participated in three 55 minute sessions that took place between October 2014 and March 2015 (concerning the cohort that reached grade 6 in the school year 2014/2015) or between October 2015 and March 2016 (concerning the cohort that reached grade 6 in the school year 2015/2016).
The impact evaluation on students after grade 6 suggested positive and promising outcomes. The biggest part of pupils had an accurate perception of the program and they accepted the idea of making commitments and fulfilling them. The teachers involved in the program also reported that students were eager to take part in the sessions to which they were very responsive. What is more, the students’ self-discipline indicator measured in the opinion of the teachers increased slightly. Last but not least, the beneficiaries had significantly better marks in French and mathematics than the non-beneficiaries. The average of the students who had been participating in the EJ program was between 0.24 and 0.34 points higher during the third term. Given the low intensity of the program, this is a noticeable result. The analysis of the mechanisms involved suggested that the fact that students had had better marks was associated with a higher quality of the work done rather than with a higher quantity of work.
With the evaluation process going on in the next three years, we will get a useful indication of the program’s long term impact.
Professor of Economics
Paris Dauphine University
Administrative & financial management
Sciences Po, Dep. of Economics