Perhaps the most concrete finding of the study related to the RTN program’s impact on academic improvement: the average GPA of students participating in the RTN program increased from 2.35 to 2.75, compared to that of PLUS Academy students not participating in RTN, 2.4 to 2.6. RTN students not only had higher achievement than their peers at the end of the year, but they also demonstrated greater academic improvement by a factor of 2.
The increase in RTN students’ average GPA is interesting at face value, because the program itself does not focus on academic achievement. There are no lessons that encourage students to study harder or get good grades. The Roadtrip Nation Experience does, however, focus squarely on the behaviors, attitudes, and strategies termed “noncognitive” factors by educational researchers – that hold a direct positive relationship to students’ concurrent and future outcomes. The conclusion of this report discusses the relationship between this study and a wider body of research on student success and noncognitive skills and also addresses limitations to generalizability, recommendations for future evaluation, and recommendations for how the findings can inform future program development.