A Test of Two-Week Courses for Academically Challenged Students

26 % of pupils in 8th grade were, in the school year 2014-15, considered as non-education ready. Thus, they have more unfavorable preconditions to finish the lower secondary education with a result, which can help them continue to an upper secondary education. Hence, The Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality has allocated 20,8 million kr. from a public fund (earmarked for disadvantaged groups) to implement and evaluate the effect of a 2-week high-speed course with an intensive focus on the pupils’ academic, social and personal development. The high-speed courses are held at the pupils’ own schools during school hours, as an extra offer to pupils who need an academic boost and a strengthened motivation.

If a sufficient amount of schools are signed up, the trial project will also evaluate, if a systematic follow-up with the pupils after the end of the high-speed course generates continuing positive effects and if this follow-up is best organized as a mentoring arrangement or via clever IT-nudges.

Time period:

2016 – 2019.

Target group:

Pupils in 8th grade considered as non-education ready.

Number of participants:

Up to 1.800 pupils are expected to participate in the trial project, every year during the three years.


The purpose with the high-speed courses is to produce reliable knowledge regarding the effect of two different high-speed projects on pupils’ academic knowledge, well-being and educational readiness in the short and the long run. The one high-speed course – “Strategies for learning” – has its primary focus on academic knowledge. Simultaneously, it is working with the pupils’ personal competencies such as curiosity, persistence, how they structure their academic practice, learn to take responsibility and be in control of their own learning in the lower secondary education. This happens through development of strategies for learning and working techniques.

The other high-speed course – “Your life, your learning” – works primarily on developing personal competencies such as the pupils’ self-esteem, belief in own coping skills and power of concentration as well as their social competencies as cooperation, support for others and teamwork. The idea is to support the young people’s personal and social competencies. In this way, they will be more able to receive learning and thus strengthen their academic level.

Both courses are based on a common ground of change in environment, a development mindset and a combination of strengthening academic, personal and social competencies.   


The effect of the high-speed projects is being evaluated as a randomized controlled trial, with drawing on school level. Participating schools in the trial project will by lottery be placed in either High-speed 1, High-speed 2 or a comparison group. All three groups have access to regular interventions for academic challenged pupils, but non-education ready pupils in the two intervention groups are also offered to participate in a 2-weeks high-speed course during the spring in 8th grade.

The effect of being offered a high-speed course is evaluated by the pupils’ academic development in Danish and mathematics as well as on the pupils’ well-being and in the evaluation of their educational readiness in 9th grade.

The pupils are being followed in up to 3 years after the end of the high-speed project to measure the long term effects on the pupils’ school results and later their choice of education by using administrative school data, survey data and register data. 


The Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality, Rambøøl Management Consulting, VIA University College and Metropolitan University College.     


Expected in 2019.


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