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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
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"Check-in" behavior interventions

Pre-K to 12 Education
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated February 2020.
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Check-in behavior interventions provide support for at-risk students in grades K–12 in order to reduce dropouts, promote engagement at school, and reduce problem behaviors. Typically, students must check-in with a designated adult at the school each day. The designated adult collects and monitors data on risk indicators (e.g., tardiness, absenteeism, discipline referrals, and poor grades); provides feedback and mentoring; facilitates individualized interventions as appropriate; and ensures communication with parents. The programs included in this analysis are Check-In, Check-Out (also known as the Behavior Education Program); Check and Connect; and Check, Connect, and Expect. Students in these studies participated in check-in programs for a little less than three academic years, on average.
For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2022). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $3,900 Benefits minus costs $14,664
Participants $8,745 Benefit to cost ratio $8.82
Others $4,718 Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($824) benefits greater than the costs 57%
Total benefits $16,539
Net program cost ($1,875)
Benefits minus cost $14,664

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
11 1 276 0.119 0.257 15 n/a n/a n/a 0.119 0.643
11 1 276 -0.010 0.207 18 -0.010 0.207 19 -0.010 0.963
11 2 148 0.019 0.206 12 n/a n/a n/a 0.041 0.842
11 1 121 -0.053 0.219 12 -0.029 0.132 15 -0.122 0.577
11 1 121 -0.217 0.220 12 -0.217 0.220 14 -0.505 0.022
11 1 121 0.101 0.219 12 0.078 0.241 17 0.235 0.285
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
High school graduation Criminal justice system ($3) $0 ($7) ($1) ($11)
Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation ($257) ($605) ($329) $0 ($1,191)
Costs of higher education $38 $57 $17 $19 $131
Test scores Labor market earnings associated with test scores $3,931 $9,260 $4,881 $0 $18,072
Externalizing behavior symptoms K-12 special education $55 $0 $0 $27 $82
Internalizing symptoms K-12 grade repetition $6 $0 $0 $3 $8
Health care associated with internalizing symptoms $116 $33 $120 $58 $327
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($930) ($880)
Totals $3,900 $8,745 $4,718 ($824) $16,539
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $570 2018 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($1,875)
Comparison costs $0 2018 Cost range (+ or -) 30%
Costs for check-in programs vary depending on the type and intensity of the intervention. We estimate program costs for each study in our analysis, which includes different types of facilitators (e.g., counselors or paraeducators) who serve caseloads ranging between 9 to 55 students. To calculate a per-student annual cost, we weight by the number of participants in each study. We use average Washington State compensation costs (including benefits) for K-12 staff (i.e., counselors and paraeducators) as reported by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Trainings occurred over three academic years.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in discounted dollars. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Cheney, D.A., Stage, S.A., Hawken, L.S., Lynass, L., Mielenz, C., & Waugh, M. (2009). A 2-year outcome study of the Check, Connect, and Expect intervention for students at risk for severe behavior problems. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 17(4), 226-243.

Heppen, J.B., Zeiser, K., Holtzman, D.J., O'Cummings, M., Christenson, S., & Pohl, A. (2018). Efficacy of the Check & Connect Mentoring Program for At-Risk General Education High School Students. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11(1), 56-82.

Simonsen, B., Myers, D., & Briere, D. (2010). Comparing a behavioral Check-In/Check-Out (CICO) intervention to standard practice in an urban middle school setting using an experimental group design. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 13(1), 31-48.