Accelerated Programs

June, 2017

Although most college students receive financial aid, many are left with unmet financial needs and may take on loans or drop out as a result. But promising innovations in financial aid could help students pay for college and accelerate their studies.

June, 2017

Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Looking Forward memo provides an overview of research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.

December, 2016

This document compares two approaches to improving community college outcomes — CUNY ASAP, a specific program model, and guided pathways, a framework for institutional reform — and discusses how they might be integrated to improve structure, coherence, and support for students.

Early Findings from a Demonstration in Three Community Colleges

September, 2016

CUNY ASAP has proved exceptionally effective at increasing community college graduation rates. This demonstration tests the viability and effects of programs modeled on ASAP in different types of colleges, including those serving many nontraditional students. Early findings show increases in full-time enrollment, credits earned, and persistence into the second semester.

Interim Findings from an Evaluation of a Computer-Assisted, Modular Approach to Developmental Math

June, 2016

ModMath is a set of computer-assisted, modular courses that allow developmental (remedial) math students in community college to earn credits incrementally and move through the curriculum at their own pace. It was well implemented, and after one semester its students were closer to completing developmental math than a control group.

A Look at MDRC’s Research

January, 2016

Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Issue Focus provides an overview of new research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.

A Program That Almost Doubles Three-Year Graduation Rates

October, 2015

This infographic explains the City University of New York’s innovative ASAP program and the problems it addresses, summarizes MDRC’s study findings, and depicts the timeline for a replication effort at three Ohio community colleges.

Submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

September, 2015

Following up on testimony delivered before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on August 5, 2015, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes submitted additional information on opportunities for innovation in financial aid and student support services in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Presented Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

August, 2015

On August 5, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on what research evidence suggests about the best ways to improve the academic success of low-income college students.

MDRC’s Projects in Math for Low-Income Students, from Preschool to College

June, 2015

In our increasingly technological world, developing basic math skills is crucial. What can be done to promote more effective math education? This two-page issue focus describes a number of MDRC projects — from preschool to postsecondary education — that seek to improve the performance of low-income students in math.

Evidence from Three Studies

June, 2015

Results from three random assignment studies at New York City community colleges suggest that year-round financial aid can increase enrollment during the summer and winter sessions — and that summer and winter enrollment can help students earn more credits.

March, 2015

MDRC’s evaluation of CUNY’s ASAP, which showed that the program is doubling the graduation rate of students who start with developmental needs, has gained a lot of attention. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received about ASAP and the study — as well as their answers.

Three-Year Effects of CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for Developmental Education Students

February, 2015

The City University of New York’s comprehensive ASAP program nearly doubles the three-year graduation rate for developmental education students in community college – at a lower cost-per-degree than regular services. ASAP also increases rates of transfer to four-year colleges.

Two-Year Results from an Evaluation of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for Developmental Education Students

December, 2013

This policy brief presents results from an evaluation of a program designed to increase the graduation rates of low-income community college students. The initiative requires full-time attendance and offers comprehensive supports and financial incentives for three full years. The program boosted two-year graduation rates substantially — by 66 percent.

Lessons from the Developmental Education Initiative

January, 2013

This report examines the efforts of 15 community colleges that expanded preexisting interventions or put in place new ones directed toward helping students move through developmental coursework more quickly and more successfully.

An Impact Study of Eight Developmental Summer Bridge Programs in Texas

June, 2012

Eight developmental summer bridge programs offered accelerated and focused learning opportunities for entering college students with low skills in Texas. An evaluation shows positive impacts on introductory college-level course completion in math and writing, which faded by the end of two years. The programs had no impact on persistence or the average number of credits students attempted or earned.

Early Results from an Evaluation of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for Developmental Education Students

June, 2012

The City University of New York’s ASAP program requires full-time attendance and offers comprehensive supports to community college students for three full years. Early results from a random assignment study show that ASAP increases credits earned, full-time enrollment, and completion of developmental (or remedial) coursework.

An Implementation and Early Impacts Study of Eight Texas Developmental Summer Bridge Programs

October, 2011

For entering college students with low basic skills, eight intensive summer programs provided accelerated instruction in math, reading, and/or writing; academic support; a “college knowledge” component; and the opportunity to receive a $400 stipend. Early results suggest that participants were more likely to pass entry-level college courses in math and writing.

What We Know About Improving Developmental Education

June, 2011

One of the greatest challenges that community colleges face in their efforts to increase graduation rates is improving the success of students in their developmental, or remedial, education programs. Emphasizing results from experimental and quasi-experimental studies, this literature review identifies the most promising approaches for revising the structure, curriculum, or delivery of developmental education and suggests areas for future innovations in developmental education practice and research.

Progress and Challenges During the First Year of the Achieving the Dream Developmental Education Initiative

May, 2011

This report examines the Achieving the Dream Developmental Education Initiative, an effort to expand promising developmental education interventions in 15 community colleges. During the 2009-2010 academic year, the colleges made progress and encountered challenges in implementing reform strategies in four key areas: changes in curriculum and instruction, academic and student supports, institutionwide policy changes, and precollege interventions.

April, 2011

This paper provides practical guidance for researchers who are designing and analyzing studies that randomize schools — which comprise three levels of clustering (students in classrooms in schools) — to measure intervention effects on student academic outcomes when information on the middle level (classrooms) is missing.

A Look at Early Implementation and Impacts on Student Achievement in Eight Elementary Schools

November, 2001

Methodological Lessons from an Evaluation of Accelerated Schools

October, 2001
Project Overview

Postsecondary education has become a centerpiece strategy for improving America’s labor market. It is estimated that 60 percent of American jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2018, and those who have not earned a college degree are 55 percent more likely to be unemployed than those who have.

Project Overview

While the U.S. has made strides in increasing college access among low-income students, college completion has remained low. Graduation rates are particularly stagnant among our nation’s community colleges, which enroll a large number of low-income and nontraditional college students.

Project Overview

Even though enrollment in community colleges is steadily increasing, graduation and transfer rates remain disappointingly low. Developmental (or remedial) math is arguably the greatest stumbling block to community college completion.

Project Overview

Too many students enter college without sufficient skills in English and math to succeed — which forces them to take developmental (or remedial) education courses. Across the nation, roughly 30 percent of entering freshman students enroll in developmental math or English courses.

Project Overview

Unprecedented national attention is now focusing on the community college as a critical institution for helping American workers secure economic well-being and for helping the nation as a whole to retain a competitive edge in the world economy.

Project Overview

National attention is focused on increasing graduation rates at community colleges. Graduation rates are particularly low for students who come to campus underprepared for college-level work.

Project Overview

Elementary schools that educate children at risk of academic failure have traditionally responded by offering remedial instruction that slows the pace of learning. Research suggests, however, that remediation makes it harder for students to catch up and join the educational mainstream.