u-can-act is a research project in which we investigate the effectiveness of methods to prevent early school drop out in community college students. We collaborate with three Dutch student supervisory agencies: Het Buro (Leeuwarden), Mijn School (Doetinchem), and the Plusgroep (The Hague). The project itself revolves around three main research-questions: what are the crucial developments with which young adolecents make the decision to drop out of school?, how can supervisory agencies most effectively intervene on these developments, in order to prevent early school drop out?, and how can this knowledge be optimally applied in policy making?
We answer these questions using a novel research methodology, by applying an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) study. In this EMA study (which takes approximately six months) we ask a group of supervised students to complete a weekly questionnaire provided to them via a Web application. Besides measuring the students, we also ask their supervisor to complete a series of weekly questionnaires about the students they supervise (in the same period). This way we measure both the students’ development over time, as well as the actions and interventions the supervisors performed to steer this development. Such measurements provide a novel insight into the meso level dynamics of the student-supervisor interactions.