2013 – 2017
Working in partnership with the Orange County Public Schools (FL) (OCPS), Junior Achievement created the Academy for Entrepreneurship and Business (JA Academy), a magnet school at Oak Ridge High School. The Academy’s mission is to develop learners with “outstanding character, exalted purposes, transforming leadership talents, economic acumen and an entrepreneurial approach to enhancing business and community services whenever and wherever they serve.” Courses are designed to connect the students with Central Florida’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs to stimulate their imagination and prepare them for a successful future in the free enterprise system. RMC Research evaluated the program impact on both the ninth- and tenth-grade participants. The evaluation employed a quasi-experimental design with the treatment students and randomly selected comparison students from the same school. A secondary analysis of student data from OCPS was conducted to provide evidence of program effect on students’ behavioral and content knowledge measures. Controlling for the effect of student demographics and their prior academic performance, the analyses showed that JA Academy had a significant influence on students’ academic performance and school behavior. Ninth-grade JA students had higher school attendance rates and higher scores in the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) mathematics assessment. Participation in JA also had a positive impact on tenth-grade students’ Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) writing assessment scores, reading benchmark test scores, and course grades in science.