Counseling/Advising

April, 2017

Communities In Schools (CIS) works to integrate a variety of support services for students to keep them on a path to graduation. MDRC’s evaluation consisted of a quasi-experimental study of the whole model and a randomized controlled trial of one of its components — case management for students at higher risk.

 

Final Findings from the Communities In Schools Random Assignment Evaluation

April, 2017

Communities In Schools (CIS) works to integrate a variety of support services for students to keep them on a path to graduation. This randomized controlled trial assessed the effects of one component of the CIS model — case management for high-risk students.

A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation Of Communities In Schools

April, 2017

Communities In Schools (CIS) works to integrate a variety of support services for students to keep them on a path to graduation. This quasi-experimental evaluation examined the effects of the CIS whole-school model in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.

An Implementation Study of the PACE Center for Girls

April, 2017

To serve at-risk girls, PACE provides academic and social services in a gender-responsive environment, focusing on safety, relationships, and girls’ individual strengths while accounting for the effects of trauma. The program offers low staff-to-student ratios, counseling and case management, and a life skills curriculum targeted to girls.

A Case Study of Communities In Schools

April, 2017

Many students in high-poverty schools face serious challenges such as housing instability and hunger, and the stress in their daily lives can affect their school attendance and performance. CIS aims to address these challenges. This brief describes how the organization has used evaluation findings to enhance and modify its services.

Evidence from the Evaluation of the PACE Center for Girls

March, 2017

Born out of research showing that girls and boys have different risk factors and pathways into the justice system, gender-responsive programs focus on girls’ unique needs and strengths. This brief summarizes the developing research on their effectiveness and describes how one program enacts the principles in its service delivery.

Promising Approaches and Next Steps

December, 2016

A significant gap in the rates of college degree attainment persists between men of color and their white counterparts. This brief catalogues strategies commonly used in interventions at postsecondary educational institutions aimed at improving outcomes for male students of color and charts the way forward for future evaluative work.

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.

Interim Impact Findings from the YouthBuild Evaluation

November, 2016

YouthBuild provides construction-related or other vocational training, educational services, counseling, and leadership-development opportunities to low-income young people ages 16 to 24 who did not complete high school. This interim report presents the program’s effects through two and a half years.

A Randomized Controlled Trial

November, 2016

A randomized controlled trial conducted by REL West and MDRC finds that counseling and text-messaging “nudges” boosted the proportion of community college students who completed academic plans by 20 percentage points.

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.

An Implementation Study of Children’s Institute, Inc.

August, 2016

Children’s Institute, Inc., combines clinical mental health and other supportive services to meet the holistic needs of children affected by trauma. This report describes the implementation of the service model and includes an in-depth fidelity study of its Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy services.

June, 2016

This infographic describes the Improving Contraceptive Options Now (ICON) demonstration, which is assisting primary care health clinics to better serve patients’ family planning needs by offering women a broader range of effective contraceptive options, including long-acting reversible contraception.

Interim Impact Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation of Diplomas Now

June, 2016

The Diplomas Now whole-school reform model, including targeted interventions for students at risk of dropping out, had an impact on the percentage of students with no early warning indicators related to attendance, behavior, or course performance, and had more encouraging results in middle schools than high schools.

The Effect of Ninth Grade Academies on Students’ Academic and Behavioral Outcomes

June, 2016

A Ninth Grade Academy is a self-contained learning community within a high school that aims to create a more personalized environment for freshmen. The model has shown promise in the context of whole-school reform, but successful implementation is challenging. The academies studied did not improve students’ academic or behavioral outcomes.

April, 2016

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states greater responsibility for choosing strategies to improve underperforming schools. For over a decade, MDRC has rigorously evaluated school improvement strategies, collecting evidence that can help states determine which strategies are likely to work. This Issue Focus describes four of MDRC’s most recent studies.

April, 2016

This brief describes how Broward County Public Schools adopted a community of practice approach to help schools implement additional support for students in the ninth grade, a critical juncture for many of them and a long-standing focus of high school reforms and dropout-prevention initiatives.

A Preview of a CUNY Start Evaluation

April, 2016

This innovative developmental education program at the City University of New York offers intensive academic instruction and advising to CUNY’s least prepared community college students before they matriculate. The evaluation will examine the program’s effect on academic outcomes among students with very low levels of basic skills.

March, 2016

A growing number of education and workforce programs are implementing “career pathways” strategies to help youth and adults prepare for postsecondary education and quality jobs. This Issue Brief describes the career pathways approach and profiles MDRC projects that shed light on its effectiveness and potential to improve education and career outcomes.

An Introduction to an Evaluation of the PACE Center for Girls

January, 2016

Girls at risk of delinquency have a different profile from that of boys. PACE uses a “gender-responsive” model of education and counseling services, taking into account how girls develop and respond to trauma. This study will evaluate the program’s implementation in 14 centers, its costs, and its impacts on girls.

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.

Final Report on the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration

November, 2015

Performance-based scholarships are designed to give students more money for college and to provide incentives for academic progress. This report analyzes data from rigorous evaluations of six different programs, in six states, with more than 12,000 students. The scholarship programs improved academic progress, including modest effects on degree completion.

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.

Results from a Performance-Based Scholarship Experiment

June, 2015

This random assignment study examines the long-term impacts of a program at The University of New Mexico offering low-income first-year students enhanced academic advising and financial aid that is contingent on performance. It finds that the program increased credit hour accumulation during the first two years and graduation rates after five years.

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.

Changing School Practices During the Second Year of Diplomas Now

May, 2015

Diplomas Now, a partnership of three national organizations, aims to increase graduation rates in high-risk schools, targeting support to students who need it most. This second report finds that Diplomas Now schools are differentiating themselves from comparable schools in their implementation of structural and instructional reforms.

Lessons from Two Decades of YouthBuild Programs

May, 2015

Youth development is a cornerstone of the YouthBuild program, which provides job skills training, academic support, counseling, and leadership opportunities to low-income, out-of-school young adults. Participants attested to the transformation that can occur in an early 1990s study; a 2014 survey of program directors largely reaffirms this.

May, 2015

In this two-page issue focus, four advisers from MDRC’s College Match project describe how serving as “near-peer” advisers to moderate- and high-achieving high school students from low-income families influenced their own career trajectories.

Implementation and Interim Impact Findings from the Communities In Schools Evaluation

April, 2015

Services to help students stay in school are often fragmented. In this program, school-based coordinators identify students at risk, work with them to assess their needs, connect them with school and community supports, and monitor their progress. Case-managed students received more services than others, but early impact findings are inconclusive.

Insights from the College Match Pilot Program

April, 2015

Research has shown that nationally, between 10 percent and 40 percent of high school graduates who intend to go to college don’t enroll the following fall. In this Issue Focus, former College Match advisers describe strategies they used to combat this “summer melt.”

A Guide for Helping Students Make Informed College Choices

April, 2015

This guide for counselors and advisers offers strategies for helping low-income high school students choose selective colleges that match their academic profiles, financial considerations, and personal needs. It tracks the many steps in the college search, application, and selection process, suggesting ways to incorporate a “match” focus at each stage.

Promoting Knowledge, Sharing Advice, and Giving Support

April, 2015

In this two-page issue focus, five advisers from MDRC’s College Match project reflect on the range of issues facing the students they advised, and describe their efforts to provide informed advice and encouragement to students who may unknowingly underestimate their college options.

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.

Findings from the YouthBuild Evaluation Implementation Study

February, 2015

YouthBuild is a federally and privately funded program providing construction and other training, educational services, counseling, and leadership development opportunities to low-income, out-of-school young adults ages 16 to 24. This first report from a Department of Labor-supported evaluation focuses on the implementation of YouthBuild in 75 sites across the nation.

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.

The First Year of Implementing Diplomas Now

August, 2014

Three national organizations formed Diplomas Now in an effort to transform urban secondary schools so fewer students drop out. This report introduces Diplomas Now and the associated evaluation, shares first-year implementation fidelity findings, and discusses collaboration among the Diplomas Now partners and between those partners and schools.

The Importance of Evidence

July, 2014

In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.

Evidence from Promising Programs

June, 2014

A review of high-quality studies, this paper highlights interventions — in education, employment and training, and second-chance programs — that have demonstrated positive results for young men of color. It comes as policymakers and philanthropies focus new attention on investing more to build opportunities for these young men. 

Lessons from the First Round of Achieving the Dream Community Colleges

April, 2014

Launched in 2004, Achieving the Dream is designed to help community colleges collect and analyze student performance data and apply the results to help students succeed. This report offers lessons from the first 26 colleges to join the national initiative, which now includes more than 200 institutions.

March, 2014

This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 16 couples who participated in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program. Couples reported benefiting from SHM’s focus on communication and conflict management, but financial needs and lack of social supports placed stress on their relationships throughout their tenure in SHM.

Exploratory Subgroup Analysis in the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation

March, 2014

This paper explores effects of the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program for six subgroups of couples in the study. SHM’s impacts were generally consistent across these subgroups, though some evidence suggests that couples whose marriages were more distressed at study entry may have benefited more from SHM.

Seven Years Later

March, 2014

This paper presents the long-term effects of a learning communities program. The program’s positive effect on credit accumulation was maintained for seven years, and there is some evidence that graduation rates increased. Economic outcomes are examined, and sobering reflections on detecting effects on economic outcomes in higher education interventions are presented.

A Technical Assistance Guide for Developing and Implementing Performance-Based Scholarships

February, 2014

Drawing on the findings and experiences of two research demonstrations that tested the effectiveness of performance-based scholarships, this guide provides helpful information for colleges and scholarship-granting organizations on this type of aid, which can reduce the financial burden on low-income students while offering incentives for good academic progress.

Final Impacts from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation

January, 2014

Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) was a yearlong voluntary marriage education program to help strengthen couples’ relationships. SHM had small sustained positive effects on marital quality more than a year after the program ended but did not achieve its objectives of leading more couples to stay together or improving children’s well-being.

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.

Early Findings from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in Arizona

October, 2013

College graduation rates for Latino students, especially Latino male students, are lower than the national average. This report presents findings from a study of performance-based scholarships paired with a robust set of student services designed to help low-income Latino men succeed.

October, 2013

This report, a Public/Private Ventures project distributed by MDRC, summarizes findings from a four-year random assignment study of an out-of-school-time program for middle-schoolers. Students in the program did better on standardized tests and were more likely to attend private high schools.

Lessons for Practitioners

September, 2013

Too many low-income, college-ready students enroll in colleges for which they are academically overqualified or don’t go to college at all. This brief offers five strategies from MDRC’s College Match Program in Chicago for practitioners interested in helping high school students make the best college match possible.

Interim Findings from the PBS Demonstration

August, 2013

Interim results suggest that performance-based scholarships improve students’ academic performance and increase the number of credits they earn. In some sites, the scholarships also appear to reduce student debt. In the one location for which data are available so far, the program increased the proportion of students earning a degree.

June, 2013

Many students lose their way academically in ninth grade, never recover, and never graduate high school. Ninth Grade Academies aim to ease the transition into high school by creating smaller learning communities for ninth-graders. This report evaluates one urban school district’s effort to implement this complex reform districtwide.

Early Implementation of the Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP) for Veterans Demonstration

April, 2013

This policy brief describes an innovative program designed to target the psychological and social behaviors that contribute to pain, disability, and inactivity among veterans with disabilities. The goal is to help these veterans resume daily activities and get on a path to work.

April, 2013

This article, first published in Community Development Investment Review, proposes a vision of a social impact bond model that moves beyond just achieving cost-savings to spurring innovation, knowledge-building, rigorous evaluation, and, potentially, outcomes that achieve other socially desirable goals.

March, 2013

While we know how to help low-income individuals prepare for and find work, too many end up in low-wage jobs and never advance up the career ladder. This policy memo describes what we’ve learned about advancement strategies — both those that show promise and those that don’t work.

March, 2013

Too many students enter college underprepared, drop out, and never earn a credential that would give them access to stable, well-paid jobs. Part of our “Looking Forward” series, this policy memo describes some promising college readiness programs that can provide students with the skills they need to successfully complete college, but cautions that more evidence is needed.

March, 2013

Urban high schools are in trouble — high dropout rates, low student achievement, and graduates who are unprepared for the world of work are just some of the disappointing indicators. However, this policy memo, part of our “Looking Forward” series, explains how recent research has uncovered a number of approaches to improving student outcomes and reforming underperforming schools.

Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles

February, 2013

This report, a Public/Private Ventures project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presents results from the nation’s first large-scale study to examine how the levels and sources of risk youth face may influence their mentoring relationships and the benefits they derive from participating in mentoring programs.

February, 2013

Too many community college students arrive on campus unprepared, get placed into developmental (or remedial) courses, and never complete a credential, graduate, or transfer to a four-year institution. Part of our “Looking Forward” series, this policy memo calls for bolder action to learn what works to improve developmental education.

 

An Evaluation of Achieving the Dream in Washington State

December, 2012

In 2006, six community and technical colleges in Washington State joined the innovative Achieving the Dream (ATD) initiative. This report describes the progress they made in implementing ATD’s “culture of evidence” principles for institutional improvement, examines strategies they implemented to improve student success, and charts trends in student outcomes before and after they joined ATD.

A Relationship Skills Education Program for Unmarried Parents

November, 2012

The Building Strong Families evaluation assessed the effects of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child. This report presents final results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.

Implementation and Final Impacts of the Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) Demonstration

September, 2012

WASC sought to increase the incomes of low-wage workers by stabilizing employment, improving skills, increasing earnings, and easing access to work supports. The program increased workers’ receipt of work supports. In the two sites that eased access to funds for training, WASC increased the receipt of certificates and licenses and increased earnings in the third year.

August, 2012

Eight programs, in various settings, successfully implemented a voluntary package of relationship skills services for low-income married couples with children, engaging a diverse group of couples who participated for eight months on average. A companion report finds that the programs produced a pattern of small, positive effects on couples’ relationships after 12 months.

Six-Year Effects of a Freshman Learning Community Program at Kingsborough Community College

July, 2012

Students who participated in a one-semester learning community, in which small groups of student took three linked classes together and received other extra services, were more likely to have graduated six years later. The program also proved to be cost-effective.

Bridging the Gap between High School and College in Tacoma, Washington

June, 2012

Getting Ready for Success provides low-income students in Tacoma with academic and social supports and monetary incentives during the late high school and early college years to increase their motivation and ability to succeed in college.

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 Impact Study of a Student Success Course at Guilford Technical Community College

April, 2012

A random assignment study of a student success course for developmental students finds positive effects on students’ self-management, self-awareness, and engagement in college. The program had few overall effects on students’ academic achievement, although there were some positive impacts for the first group of students to enter the study.

Helping Low-Income and First-Generation Students Make Good College Choices

April, 2012

Too many low-income, college-ready students are “undermatching” — enrolling in colleges for which they are academically overqualified or not going to college at all. Early results from the College Match Program in three Chicago high schools suggest that it’s possible to help students navigate the complicated college application process and make more informed decisions.

February, 2012

This report, which presents 12-month impact results from a demonstration designed to strengthen marriages among low-income married couples with children, shows that the program produced a consistent pattern of small, positive effects on multiple aspects of couples’ relationships, including measures of relationship quality, psychological and physical abuse, and adult individual psychological distress.

A Case Study of Peer Leader Programs at Two Achieving the Dream Colleges

February, 2012

Northern Essex Community College and Bunker Hill Community College employed academically successful students to serve as peer leaders to offer additional classroom assistance to fellow students in developmental and introductory college-level courses. The report discusses how the colleges designed and implemented these programs and offers insights into students’ experiences in peer-assisted courses.

Four-Year Findings from Chaffey College’s Opening Doors Program

November, 2011

This program included a “College Success” course and offered enhanced counseling. A change from optional to required services led to increased program participation, and the new program decreased the percentage on academic probation after the two program semesters. Nevertheless, after four years, the program had no discernible effect on academic outcomes.

October, 2011

This brief summarizes results from performance-based scholarship programs in Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio. These scholarships can move the dial on important markers of academic success for students, including credits attempted and earned and rates of full-time enrollment.

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.

Early Findings from a Performance-Based Scholarship Program at the University of New Mexico

August, 2011

Low-income freshmen received financial support if they enrolled full time, maintained a “C” average, and received enhanced academic advising. After one year, students attempted and earned more credits, received more financial aid dollars and in some cases reduced their loans, and registered for more credits in the third semester.

Resources for Program Operators from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Demonstration and Evaluation

May, 2011

Developed for sites participating in a federal demonstration and evaluation of relationship and marriage skills programs for low-income married couples, this toolkit offers practical guidance about program design, management, and marketing, among other topics. It may be particularly useful for voluntary programs focusing on family relationships, couples, or fatherhood.

A Synthesis of Findings from an Evaluation at Six Community Colleges

March, 2011

MDRC’s Opening Doors Demonstration, launched in 2003 with six community colleges, provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. This 12-page policy brief describes the strategies tested, discusses the results, and offers suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for moving forward.

Five Years of Achieving the Dream in Community Colleges

February, 2011

This interim report examines the experiences of the first 26 colleges to join the ambitious Achieving the Dream initiative. Launched by Lumina Foundation for Education in 2004, Achieving the Dream helps community colleges collect and analyze student performance data in order to build a “culture of evidence,” enabling the colleges to use that knowledge to develop programs to increase students’ academic success.

September, 2010

An important first hurdle for voluntary programs is recruiting and retaining eligible participants. This report describes how ten Supporting Healthy Marriage programs focused on developing effective marketing strategies, keeping couples engaged in the program, and building management systems. These efforts resulted in encouraging early levels of participation by low-income couples.

How Much Do Achieving the Dream Colleges Spend — and from What Resources — to Become Data-Driven Institutions?

June, 2010

This report analyzes the experiences of five community colleges that participate in Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream initiative and the investments they made in implementing an institutional improvement process aimed at increasing students’ success. The report examines how, where, and with what resources these colleges supported their reforms, as well as the key activities driving their overall expenditures.

Men of Color Discuss Their Experiences in Community College

March, 2010

This report takes an in-depth look at the perceptions and experiences of 87 African-American, Hispanic, and Native American men who were enrolled in developmental math courses at four community colleges. The study explores how the students’ experiences in their high schools and communities, as well as their identities as men of color, influenced their decision to go to college and their engagement in school.

An Impact Evaluation of the Beacon Program at South Texas College

February, 2010

Created as part of the national Achieving the Dream initiative, a “light touch” intervention targeting students enrolled in lower-level math courses increased the number of students using campus tutoring and academic services. While the program has not improved math class pass rates or persistence in college overall, it has had positive effects for part-time and developmental students.

An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration

October, 2009

This policy brief describes a demonstration launched by MDRC in four states in 2008 to evaluate whether performance-based scholarships — paid contingent on attaining academic benchmarks — are an effective way to improve persistence and academic success among low-income college students. The demonstration builds on positive results from an earlier MDRC study in Louisiana.

A Case Study of an Achieving the Dream College

September, 2009

Achieving the Dream teaches community colleges to use student data to improve programming and student success. Since participating, Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina has become a data-driven, success-oriented institution and has seen promising trends in student achievement. This study offers lessons for other colleges undertaking similar institutional reform.

Effects of a Community College Program for Probationary Students

April, 2009

Rates of graduation and degree completion at community colleges remain distressingly low. This report evaluates two versions of a program designed to help probationary students at community college succeed in school. One version increased the average number of credits earned, the proportion of students who earned a grade point average of “C” or higher, and the proportion who moved off probation.

Effects of a Performance-Based Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents

January, 2009

This report describes the impacts of a performance-based scholarship program with a counseling component on academic success and persistence among low-income parents. Students who participated in the program, which was operated at two New Orleans-area colleges as part of MDRC’s multisite Opening Doors demonstration, were more likely to stay in school, get higher grades, and earn more credits.

A Case Study of Three Achieving the Dream Colleges

December, 2008

This report examines the experiences of three of the 83 colleges currently involved in the Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count project, an initiative of Lumina Foundation for Education, and their efforts to improve instruction in developmental education classrooms.

August, 2008

This working paper introduces the Supporting Healthy Marriage evaluation, the first large-scale, multisite experiment that is testing voluntary marriage education programs for low-income married couples with children in eight sites across the country. The year-long programs consist of a series of marriage education workshops with additional family support services and referrals.

Effects After Eight Years for Families and Children

July, 2008

Implemented in 1994 in Milwaukee, New Hope provided full-time, low-wage workers with several benefits for three years: an earnings supplement, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. A random assignment study shows positive effects for both adults and children, some of which persisted five years after the program ended.

July, 2008

Implemented in 1994, New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits for three years: an earnings supplement, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. This working paper examines the program’s impacts on children’s future orientation and employment experiences eight years after random assignment.

July, 2008

Implemented in 1994, New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits for three years: an earnings supplement, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. This working paper examines the effects of New Hope on children’s social behavior, parent-child relationships, and participation in out-of-school activities eight years after random assignment.

July, 2008

Implemented in 1994, New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits for three years: an earnings supplement, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. This working paper examines the program’s impacts on employment and earnings, as well as on family income and poverty, up to eight years beyond the point of random assignment.

July, 2008

Implemented in 1994, New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits for three years: an earnings supplement, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. This working paper examines the effects of New Hope on children’s academic achievement and achievement motivation eight years after random assignment.

Two-Year Effects of a Freshmen Learning Community Program at Kingsborough Community College

March, 2008

Freshmen in a “learning community” at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY, moved more quickly through developmental English requirements, took and passed more courses, and earned more credits in their first semester than students in a control group. Two years later, they were also somewhat more likely to be enrolled in college.

Navigating Career Advancement for Low-Wage Workers

October, 2007

This report, from MDRC’s Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration, explores how WASC career coaches help low-wage workers understand the complex interactions between earnings and eligibility for work support programs and guide them to make the best advancement decisions possible.

Early Progress in the Achieving the Dream Initiative

May, 2007

Achieving the Dream is a multiyear, national initiative, launched by Lumina Foundation for Education, to help community college students stay in school and succeed. The 83 participating colleges commit to collecting and analyzing data to improve student outcomes, particularly for low-income students and students of color. This baseline report describes the early progress that the first 27 colleges have made after just one year of implementation.

Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration in Ohio

April, 2007

This report describes early results from MDRC’s evaluation of the Opening Doors program at Lorain Country Community College in Elyria, Ohio. The program provided enhanced student services and a modest scholarship to low-income students to encourage them to stay in school and earn credentials.

Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration in Ohio

April, 2007

This report presents the early results from MDRC’s evaluation of the Opening Doors program at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. The two-semester program offered intensive student advising services and a modest scholarship to low-income students to encourage them to stay in school and earn credentials.

The Effect of Project GRAD on High School Student Outcomes in Three Urban School Districts

July, 2006

This report describes the effects of Project GRAD, an ambitious education reform that targets high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them, on a variety of student outcomes in high schools in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio.

The Effect of Project GRAD on Elementary School
Student Outcomes in Four Urban Districts

July, 2006

This report describes the effects of Project GRAD, an ambitious education reform that targets high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them, on student test scores in elementary schools in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; and Newark, New Jersey.

Students Navigating Community College

July, 2006

For this study, MDRC interviewed students at two colleges that are part of the Opening Doors Demonstration, a program to help community college students remain in school and succeed. The students spoke about their experiences on and off campus and the factors that help or hinder their progress in school.

Early Results of a Louisiana Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents Attending Community College

May, 2006

Funded by state welfare dollars, two community colleges in the New Orleans area offered performance-based scholarships and enhanced counseling to low-income parents, as part of MDRC’s Opening Doors demonstration. These early findings show the program had significant positive effects on academic achievement and rates of retention.

An Exploratory Analysis

January, 2006

This analysis of data collected in MDRC’s evaluation of the First Things First reform initiative confirms that high school students’ engagement in school and perceptions of their own academic competence influence their mathematics achievement. The study also suggests that perceived academic competence may be more influential than engagement in boosting achievement in both mathematics and reading.

Findings and Lessons from First Things First

July, 2005

First Things First, a comprehensive school reform initiative, increased student achievement in Kansas City, Kansas, the first school district to adopt the reform model. It is not yet clear if First Things First is working in four other school districts in which it has been replicated.

The Opening Doors Demonstration

June, 2005

The Opening Doors Demonstration is designed to show how community colleges can help more low-income students remain in school and improve other outcomes, including degree attainment, labor market success, and personal and social well-being.

Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration at Kingsborough Community College

June, 2005

Opening Doors Learning Communities, a program serving mostly low-income freshmen at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY, improved course and test pass rates, particularly in English.

Services That May Help Low-Income Students Succeed in Community College

November, 2004

Community colleges can pursue many strategies for enhancing student services, including offering “one-stop shopping,” which provides students with multiple services at the same time and place.

July, 2004

Relying on 427 classroom observations conducted over a three-year period, this study traces changes in teachers’ instructional practices in the First Things First schools.

Findings from the First Implementation Year

December, 2003

Based on survey data and findings from interviews and observations, this report describes the First Things First reform initiative and its first year of implementation at seven secondary schools, with a focus on three key components: small learning communities, a family advocacy system, and instructional improvement strategies.

Instructional Innovations That Help Low-Income Students Succeed in Community College

July, 2003

This paper looks at curricular and program redesign strategies currently used by community colleges to speed nontraditional students’ advancement from lower levels of skill into credential programs and to shorten the time commitment required to earn a credential.

Five-Year Results of a Program to Reduce Poverty and Reform Welfare

June, 2003

This rigorous long-term evaluation reveals that building a safety net of financial supports for low-income parents who work improved the well-being of their children.

An Exploratory Focus Group Study

February, 2003

The Opening Doors initiative is designed to help low-wage workers, at-risk youth, and recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) earn college credentials as the pathway to better jobs and higher earnings. Concentrating on a program implemented in California, this report supplements efforts from an earlier Opening Doors focus group study to gain insights from low-income students on the factors that affect their ability to enroll in school and earn a college credential while balancing work and parenting responsibilities.

Creating the Conditions and Capacity for Community-Wide Reform in an Urban School District

November, 2002

Take a look inside the Kansas City, Kansas (KCK) public schools and you will find challenges facing any urban district: insufficient funding, large numbers of at-risk students, declining enrollment and teacher shortages. You will also see teachers working in teams and staying with their students for more than one year, lower ratios of students to teachers in key classes and extra time built into the day for professional development.

July, 2002

The latest report from the Opening Doors project explores how to help low-wage workers move toward career advancement and higher wages by enrolling in and completing community college programs.

The Impact of Parents' Fair Share on Low-Income Fathers' Employment

October, 2000

The Impact of Parents' Fair Share on Paternal Involvement

October, 2000

Impacts of 20 Welfare-to-Work Programs by Subgroup

August, 2000
January, 2000

Developed as part of MDRC’s Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration, the Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum is intended to help fathers more effectively fulfill their roles as parents, partners, and workers.

Lessons for the Child Support Enforcement System from Parents' Fair Share

May, 1998

Implementation of a Program to Reduce Poverty and Reform Welfare

October, 1997

Final Report on a Comprehensive Program for Young Mothers in Poverty and Their Children

January, 1997

The Evolution of Innovative School-to-Work Programs

January, 1997

Innovative Programs Linking School and Work

January, 1994

What Fathers and Mothers Say About Child Support

July, 1992

Findings from a Program for Disadvantaged High School Students

October, 1990
Project Overview

College Promise is the latest college access movement in the United States. With nearly 200 programs across the nation — a number that grows every year — College Promise is driving national conversations about college access and affordability.

Project Overview

Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which recently made its second large investment in 26 colleges and universities engaged in technology-mediated advising reform.

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

African-American male students at institutions of higher education have been the focus of a variety of recent policy and program intervention efforts nationally.

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

More than one-third of all children under 18 years of age — about 24 million children — live in single-parent families, a vast majority headed by single mothers.

Project Overview

Currently, almost half of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended — a rate higher than that of many other industrialized countries. These unintended pregnancies are roughly evenly divided between women who did not use contraception at all and those who did, but ineffectively.

Project Overview

Under-resourced students will have a steep road ahead as they master new Common Core standards. Schools will also face the challenge of finding sufficient resources to deliver higher-level content in effective, engaging ways.

Project Overview

The Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) conducts research to document current practices in developmental English and math education across the United States and to rigorously evaluate innovative assessment and instructional practices. CAPR, led by MDRC and the Community College Research Center, is funded by the federal Institute of Education Sciences.

Project Overview

Many students enter postsecondary education underprepared academically, and the success rate for these students is low.

Project Overview

Young girls and women make up an increasing share of the youth in the juvenile justice system, despite a national decline in the overall rate of juvenile incarceration in this country. In 2011, girls made up nearly 30 percent of all juvenile arrests, up from 20 percent in 1980.

Project Overview

Youth in the child welfare system tend to have been exposed to multiple traumatic events over time.

Project Overview

MDRC will design and conduct a demonstration and rigorous evaluation of a web-based advising tool to improve the outcomes of students enrolled in career-technical programs in California community colleges.

Project Overview

Every day, 7,000 students drop out of school. Among Latinos and African-Americans, the dropout rate is nearly 50 percent. Communities In Schools (CIS) works with low-income K-12 students in the nation’s poorest-performing schools.

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

To remain globally competitive and to advance economic opportunity for all its residents, the United States must dramatically increase the number of low-income students who enroll in and graduate from college.

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

Obesity is associated with poor health and high health care costs and has been increasing in the United States for several decades. It has also been linked to such health conditions as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, cancer, sleep disorders, and musculoskeletal pain and disability.

Project Overview

Making the successful transition to adulthood had become increasingly challenging for disadvantaged young people. Two changes in the labor market have contributed to this trend. First, the rise in demand for higher skilled workers, while increasing the payoff to college, has resulted in declining real wages for less-educated workers.

Project Overview

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), an initiative enacted under the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act, targets millions of dollars in public-private funds to expand effective solutions across three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support.

Project Overview

Many United States military veterans experience mental and physical disabilities that can increase their risk for substance abuse, social isolation, unemployment, and homelessness.

Project Overview

While educators and officials across the United States are struggling with how to raise student achievement and improve graduation rates, very few programs have been shown to work at scale in achieving either goal.

Project Overview

Roughly half of college students and close to 60 percent of community college students do not earn a college credential within six years, leaving them with poor labor market prospects in an economy that increasingly demands a credential in order to find a job.

Project Overview

For many low-income college students, one of the biggest barriers to attendance is cost. While federal and state financial aid is available to help with tuition, fees, books, and some living expenses, students still often have unmet need, particularly if they are from the poorest families or are independent from their parents.

Project Overview

The transition into high school is a volatile time for adolescents and a precarious point in the educational pipeline. Evidence shows ninth grade to be one of the leakiest junctures in this pipeline.

Project Overview

In the mid-1980s, three developments long in the making — a dramatic increase in out-of-wedlock childbearing, the high cost of providing welfare to young poor women who become mothers, and the difficulties faced by their children — became a focus of concern among policymakers and the public alike.

Project Overview

Policy debates about child poverty and welfare reform, which once focused almost exclusively on single mothers and their children, have in recent years begun to train the spotlight on fathers.

Project Overview

The wages and earnings of low-income workers have been stagnant or declining in real terms for approximately 35 years. Nationwide, the labor market-driven growth of the low-wage workforce has become a major issue for both the business community and the public.

Project Overview

At the time this project began, a third of all babies in the United States were born to unmarried mothers, and the fraction was even higher among low-income families.

Project Overview

The Supporting Healthy Marriage project is the first large-scale, multisite, multiyear, rigorous test of marriage education programs for low-income married couples.

Project Overview

Community colleges, which tend to be accessible and affordable, serve as a critical resource for low-income individuals striving to improve their prospects in the labor market and life.

Project Overview

To prepare young people for productive and satisfying adult lives in the competitive global marketplace, local high schools and employers are being asked to develop effective school-to-work programs.

Project Overview

Launched in Houston in 1993 by James Ketelsen, retired CEO of Tenneco, and since expanded to 12 additional school districts, Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD) combines a variety of promising reforms to improve instruction and raise student achievement in schools that serve p

Project Overview

Community colleges enroll almost half of all U.S. undergraduate students, yet the majority of these students leave without earning a degree or certificate or transferring to another institution to continue their studies. As a result, they risk losing the opportunity to learn and to earn a livable wage.

Project Overview

Developed by the Institute for Research and Reform in Education (IRRE), First Things First is an ambitious comprehensive school reform model that seeks to address the impersonal nature and poor performance of many secondary schools serving disadvantaged students.