Strategies to sustain program impacts for children and adolescents: An interview with Greg Duncan, Professor, University of California, Irvine – Episode #159

Many interventions that aim to increase the cognitive or socioemotional skills of children and adolescents have shown positive results, but far too often their impacts quickly disappear as children get older. Some programs, in contrast, have shown longer-lasting effects. In a new study published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Greg Duncan and his co-authors set out to identify the key features of interventions that can be expected to sustain persistently beneficial program impacts. They include:

  • Skill building: Identifying key skills and building them in an intervention, producing impacts into the future. That might include analytical thinking, delayed gratification delay or grit
  • Foot in the door: Designing the right intervention at the right time to help a child or adolescent through a period of risk or opportunity, such as interventions that keep young people from repeating grades.
  • Sustaining environments: Providing additional interventions that build on the gains of the initial intervention, essentially creating “recharging stations” to sustain initial gains.

To learn more, we are joined by Greg Duncan. He is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine.

Related interviews: Also see Greg Duncan’s interviews on how states can optimize their pre-K programs [click here] and how successful school systems are closing achievement gaps [click here].