Final Report

September, 2014

This report discusses a pilot project to prepare adult education students in New York City for the new more rigorous GED exam. Revised writing and math curricula were offered to thousands of students, but attendance was erratic. Shorter lesson sequences and support outside the classroom might allow more students to benefit.

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.

August, 2014

This program aimed to improve health care quality and reduce Medicaid costs for high-needs Medicaid recipients in New York by helping them use appropriate care that would reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The program did not appear to reduce Medicaid costs or care from hospitals and emergency departments.

July, 2014

This two-page issue focus uses infographics to explain a groundbreaking demonstration project that tests the impact of a new work-based earnings supplement, similar to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), on economic and social outcomes for single adults.

May, 2014

This brief essay by Gordon Berlin, first published by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, builds on MDRC’s experience as the intermediary in the nation’s first operational Social Impact Bond to describe three broad challenges facing the Pay for Success movement as it moves from promising concept to on-the-ground implementation.

A New Antipoverty Strategy for Single Adults

May, 2014

This 12-page brief describes a pathbreaking demonstration project testing an enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income single adults without dependent children in New York City. Paycheck Plus aims to improve participants’ economic well-being while promoting employment and other positive outcomes.

Implementation and Interim Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

April, 2014

This report describes the early effects of a program helping low- and moderate-income families build up unrestricted-use savings via tax refunds. Individuals who save a pledged amount for a year earn a 50-percent match payment. After 18 months, SaveUSA had increased the percentage of individuals with savings and boosted average savings amounts.

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.

Student Characteristics and Patterns of (Un)Affordability

February, 2014

This paper reviews the literature on financial aid and college achievement, examines data from MDRC’s Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration to identify relationships between students’ financial aid and their persistence and academic achievement, and concludes with recommendations for how these collective findings should affect financial aid policy.

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 Lessons from the New York City Social Impact Bond

December, 2013

A social impact bond (SIB) is an innovative way to fund promising new programs at no cost to taxpayers. This report describes the first operational SIB in the U.S., explaining how an intervention for youth incarcerated at Rikers Island was developed, how the unique financing mechanism was arranged, and how the program was adapted and implemented at full scale.

The Early Experience of Project Rise

October, 2013

Project Rise seeks to reconnect “disconnected” young people — those out of work and lacking a high school degree — with education, work, and social support. This policy brief provides an overview of Project Rise and its evaluation, descriptions of its participants, and lessons drawn from its early operating experiences.

The Continuing Story of the Opportunity NYC−Family Rewards Demonstration

September, 2013

Family Rewards, a three-year demonstration, provided cash payments to low-income families in New York City for achieving specific health, education, and employment goals. New results show that the program substantially reduced poverty and material hardship while it operated and had positive results in improving some education, health, and work-related outcomes.

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.

New Findings About the Effectiveness and Operation of Small Public High Schools of Choice in New York City

August, 2013

New data from a rigorous study confirm that New York City’s small public high schools, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, have substantially improved rates of graduation with Regents diplomas. This report also describes what principals and teachers at these schools believe accounts for their success.

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.

Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults

June, 2013

This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.

Early Success in LaGuardia Community College’s Bridge to Health and Business Program

May, 2013

One year after enrolling, students in LaGuardia’s GED Bridge program were more than twice as likely to have passed the GED exam and three times as likely to have enrolled in college as students in a more traditional GED preparation class.

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.

Preliminary Implementation Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

April, 2013

SaveUSA, a pilot program in New York City, Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa, offers a matched savings account to low-income tax filers, building on the opportunity presented by tax-time refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. This 12-page brief offers early implementation findings.

Early Findings from a Program for Housing Voucher Recipients in New York City

December, 2012

Opportunity NYC–Work Rewards is testing three ways of increasing work among families receiving housing vouchers — services and a savings plan under the federal Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, the FSS program plus cash incentives for sustained full-time work, and the cash incentives alone. Early results suggest intriguing positive findings for certain subgroups.

Lessons from Two New York City Community Colleges

November, 2012

Can a scholarship without services improve academic progress? For adult developmental education students, this program encouraged more full-time enrollment during the semesters in which it operated and increased registration and credit accumulation in the summer semester, but it did not increase the average number of semesters registered or credits earned over two years.

The Effects of New York City’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program

September, 2012

What happens if parents and their teenagers are offered cash incentives if the teens go to school and pass their exams? Teens spend more time on academically oriented activities but are no more likely to be engaged in school. Parents save more for college. Surprisingly, teens are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

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.

A Synthesis of Findings from Six Community Colleges

July, 2012

This report looks at the short-term impacts of 174 one-semester learning communities for developmental students at six community colleges. On average, the programs produced a modest impact on credits earned.

July, 2012

Two reports offer findings on the effectiveness of learning communities, a popular strategy that places small cohorts of students together in two or more thematically linked courses, usually for a single semester, with added support, such as extra advising or tutoring.

June, 2012

Using an alternative to classical statistics, this paper reanalyzes results from three published studies of interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency. The analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs about the interventions, characterizing the results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, and generally confirms the earlier published findings.

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.

Final Results of the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project and Selected Sites from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

May, 2012

Lessons from the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

April, 2012

Many recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals find or keep jobs for a while, but far fewer remain steadily employed and advance in the labor market. This report describes results and draws lessons from rigorous evaluations of 12 programs seeking to improve employment retention and advancement among low-wage workers.

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.

January, 2012

A rigorous study that takes advantage of lottery-like features in New York City’s high school admissions process demonstrates that new small public high schools that are open to students of all academic backgrounds have substantial impacts on rates of graduation with Regents diplomas for every disadvantaged subgroup of students that was examined.

Final Results from the Evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Transitional Jobs Program

January, 2012

Ex-prisoners who had access to CEO’s transitional jobs program were less likely to be convicted of a crime and reincarcerated. The effects were particularly large for those ex-prisoners who enrolled in the program shortly after release. The recidivism reductions mean that the program is cost-effective — generating more in savings than it cost.

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 Impact Study of Career-Focused Learning Communities at Kingsborough Community College

July, 2011

Students took two courses in their major and one on careers associated with their major. Active, collaborative, and interdisciplinary learning was emphasized. No meaningful impacts on educational outcomes were found for the full sample, but recent transfer students saw a modest positive impact on credits earned during the program 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.

Early Impacts from the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration in New York

May, 2011

Low-income adults needing remediation received a scholarship if they maintained at least part-time enrollment and met attendance and grade point average benchmarks. Early results show that the program modestly increased full-time enrollment and, among students who were eligible for summer funding, summer registration.

How Families Responded to Education Incentives in New York City’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program

May, 2011

Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards was a conditional cash transfer program that provided payments to low-income families for achieving specific health, education, and employment goals. Drawing on in-depth interviews, this report looks at how families viewed the education incentives, communicated about them with their children, reinforced educational rewards, and advanced their quality of life through the program.

April, 2011

The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. Participants in the CUNY project were more likely to have been employed for pay than youth in the control group. However, the project had no impacts on income, expectations, or a composite measure of school enrollment or high school completion.

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 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.

February, 2011

The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. While participants in the Erie County, NY, site were more likely to participate in self-sufficiency services, the program has had no impact on employment or school completion in its first year.

Impact Studies at Queensborough and Houston Community Colleges

February, 2011

Learning communities, which co-enroll small groups of students into linked courses, are a popular strategy for helping developmental students at community colleges succeed. This report examines the impacts of one-semester learning communities for developmental math students at Queensborough Community College and Houston Community College. At both colleges, students in learning communities attempted and passed their developmental math class at higher rates than students in a control group. However, this impact generally did not translate into increased cumulative progress in math by the end of two or three semesters.

Findings from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

January, 2011

This 12-page practitioner brief examines the work, education, and training patterns of single parents in the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project, which evaluated strategies to promote employment stability among low-income workers. The findings support other research in underscoring the importance of changing jobs and of access to “good” jobs as strategies to help low-wage workers advance.

Strategies for Interpreting and Reporting Intervention Effects on Subgroups

November, 2010

This revised paper examines strategies for interpreting and reporting estimates of intervention effects for subgroups of a study sample. Specifically, the paper considers: why and how subgroup findings are important for applied research, the importance of prespecifying subgroups before analyses are conducted, and the importance of using existing theory and prior research to distinguish between subgroups for which study findings are confirmatory, as opposed to exploratory.

October, 2010

CEO, a transitional jobs program for former prisoners in New York City, had its strongest effects for participants who were at highest risk of recidivism, for whom CEO reduced the probability of rearrest, the number of rearrests, and the probability of reconviction two years after entering the program.

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.

The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers

July, 2010

Over the course of ninth grade, two supplemental literacy courses modestly improved students’ reading comprehension skills and helped them perform better academically in their course work. However, these benefits did not persist in the following school year, when students were no longer receiving the supplemental support.

How New York City’s New Small Schools Are Boosting Student Achievement and Graduation Rates

June, 2010

Taking advantage of lottery-like features in New York City’s high school admissions process, this study provides rigorous evidence that new small public high schools are narrowing the educational attainment gap and markedly improve graduation prospects, particularly for disadvantaged students.

Early Findings from New York City’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program

March, 2010

Targeted toward low-income families in six high-poverty New York City communities, Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards offers cash payments tied to efforts and achievements in children’s education, family preventive health care practices, and parents’ employment. In its first two years, the program substantially reduced poverty and material hardship and had positive results in improving some education, health-related, and work-related outcomes.

March, 2010

The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating promising strategies to help youth with disabilities become as economically self-sufficient as possible as they transition from school to work. This report offers six overall implementation lessons to help policymakers and administrators develop, fund, and provide interventions for youth with disabilities.

The Experience of Six Community Colleges

March, 2010

Learning communities, which enroll groups of students together in coordinated classes, are increasingly being used to help developmental-level students succeed. This report on the Learning Communities Demonstration, a large-scale, random assignment evaluation, describes the strategies that six community colleges used and the challenges they faced in scaling up their programs.

High Schools and Their Characteristics, 2002-2008

February, 2010

This report examines the sweeping transformation of New York City’s public high school system — the nation’s largest — during the first decade of the twenty-first century, when nearly 200 new small high schools were created. Two companion reports focus on the role of intermediaries in this reform effort and provide case studies of six schools.

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.

September, 2009

This report presents two-year implementation and impact findings on two supplemental academic instruction approaches developed for after-school settings -- one for math and one for reading. It addresses whether one-year impacts are different in the second year of program operations and whether students benefit from being offered two years of enhanced after-school academic instruction.

Time Use Estimates for Economically Disadvantaged and Nondisadvantaged Married Couples in the United States

September, 2009

Contrary to some expectations, economically disadvantaged couples spend slightly more time together than nondisadvantaged ones, and more of that time is spent in leisure activities, according to this paper from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Project. While these couples may face different barriers to participating in voluntary programs than higher-income couples, their “time crunch” appears to be no worse.

Implementation, Two-Year Impacts, and Costs of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Prisoner Reentry Program

August, 2009

A random assignment study shows that participants in CEO’s transitional jobs program were less likely to be convicted of a crime, to be admitted to prison for a new conviction, or to be incarcerated for any reason in prison or jail over the first two years. The program also had a large but short-lived impact on employment.

A Research Note for Funders

June, 2009

Targeted toward very low-income families in six high-poverty New York City communities, Family Rewards offers cash payments tied to efforts and achievements in children’s education, family preventive health care practices, and parents’ employment. This paper reviews data on participants’ receipt of rewards and offers preliminary estimates of the program’s impacts on selected educational outcomes during the first year.

The Employment Retention and Advancement Project

March, 2009

Participants in an intensive care management program for public assistance recipients with substance abuse problems were slightly more likely to enroll in treatment than participants in less intensive services. However, the intensive program had no effects on employment or public benefit receipt among the full sample.

January, 2009

The Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD), led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating six promising strategies to help youth with disabilities become as economically self-sufficient as possible as they transition from school to work. This report presents a detailed, comprehensive design for the YTD evaluation.

December, 2008

The transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities, particularly youth receiving disability program benefits, can be especially challenging. The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating six promising strategies to help youth with disabilities become as economically self-sufficient as possible as they transition from school to work.

November, 2008

This report presents findings from the second year of the Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO) study, a demonstration and random assignment evaluation of two supplemental literacy programs — Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy and Xtreme Reading — that aim to improve the reading comprehension skills and school performance of struggling ninth-grade readers.

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.

Findings After the First Year of Implementation

June, 2008

This report presents one-year implementation and impact findings on two supplemental academic instruction approaches developed for after-school settings — one for math and one for reading. Compared with regular after-school programming, the supplemental math program had impacts on student SAT 10 test scores and the supplemental reading program did not — although the reading program had some effect on reading fluency.

Rationale, Sites, and Research Design

May, 2008

Launched in 2007 by MDRC and the National Center for Postsecondary Research, the Learning Communities Demonstration is testing models of this promising approach in six community colleges in five states. This report describes the research design, including information about the colleges and their models, the random assignment process, data sources, analysis plans, and reporting schedule.

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.

Lessons from Research on Welfare Training Programs and Two Promising Community College Strategies

February, 2008

This working paper, prepared for a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, reviews what is known about education acquisition by low-wage workers and highlights promising strategies being tested at several community colleges.

January, 2008

This report presents early findings from a demonstration and random assignment evaluation of two supplemental literacy programs that aim to improve the reading comprehension skills and school performance of struggling ninth-grade readers. On average, the programs produced a positive, statistically significant impact on reading comprehension among students.

Suggestive Evidence from Three Urban School Districts

December, 2007

Does providing instruction-related professional development to school principals set in motion a chain of events that can improve teaching and learning in their schools? This report examines professional development efforts by the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning in elementary schools in Austin, St. Paul, and New York City.

November, 2007

After one year, CEO’s transitional jobs program generated a large but short-lived increase in employment for ex-prisoners. A subgroup of recently released prisoners showed positive effects on recidivism: They were less likely to have their parole revoked, to be convicted of a felony, and to be reincarcerated than the control group.

An Introduction to the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project

October, 2007

This demonstration is evaluating four diverse strategies designed to improve employment and other outcomes for low-income parents and others who face serious barriers to employment.

The Employment Retention and Advancement Project

July, 2007

A random assignment study of a welfare-to-work program for recipients with work-limiting medical and mental health conditions shows that participants had increased employment and decreased welfare payments.

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.

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.

The Center for Employment Opportunities Comprehensive Prisoner Reentry Program

April, 2006

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) serves nearly 2,000 reentering prisoners a year with a structured program of pre-employment training, immediate short-term transitional work, and job placement services. This report, written jointly by CEO and MDRC, describes how the CEO program operates. Results from a random assignment evaluation by MDRC are expected next year.

Final Report on the Center for Employment Training Replication Sites

September, 2005

The Center for Employment Training (CET) in San Jose, California, produced large, positive employment and earnings effects for out-of-school youth in the late 1980s. However, in this replication study, even the highest-fidelity sites did not increase employment or earnings for youth over the 54-month follow-up period, despite short-term positive effects for women.

Evidence from a Sample of Recent CET Applicants

September, 2005

This working paper examines employment and earnings over a four-year period for a group of disadvantaged out-of-school youth who entered the Evaluation of the Center for Employment Training (CET) Replication Sites between 1995 and 1999. It assesses the importance of three key factors as barriers to employment: lack of a high school diploma, having children, and having an arrest record.

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.

New Findings on Policy Experiments Conducted in the Early 1990s

April, 2005

In welfare and employment programs that provide earnings supplements, increased family income plays a key role in improving children’s school achievement.

Evidence from Three States

March, 2005

In a study of over 3,500 women in welfare-to-work programs in three states, child care instability did not appear to be a major cause of employment instability.

A Study of Adult Student Persistence in Library Literacy Programs

January, 2005

Library-based literacy programs face serious challenges to improving adult students’ participation. This study suggests programs should be prepared to accommodate intermittent participation by adult students and to connect students to social services and other supports.

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.

Basic Characteristics of Economically Disadvantaged Couples in the U.S.

July, 2004

Using recent surveys and published reports, this working paper assembles a portrait of the attitudes and behaviors of disadvantaged married couples. It gathers and assesses descriptive statistics on the formation and stability, characteristics, and quality of marriages in the low-income population in the U.S. We welcome discussion and comments on this working paper.

The Role of Informal Care in the Lives of Low-Income Women and Children

October, 2003

Drawing on ethnographic interviews, this policy brief describes the patchwork child care arrangements made by low-income parents and discusses implications for policies that would promote the dual objectives of child well-being and parental employment.

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.

Thirty-Month Findings from the Evaluation of the Center for Employment Training Replication Sites

June, 2003

Efforts to replicate the experience of the Center for Employment Training in San Jose, California — a uniquely successful program that helped at-risk youth develop skills needed to compete in today’s labor market — showed mixed results.

Evidence from Ten Experimental Welfare-to-Work Programs

June, 2003

Evidence from Random Assignment Studies of Welfare and Work Programs

June, 2003

The Effects of Welfare Reform Policies on Marriage and Cohabitation

April, 2003

Patching Together Care for Children When Parents Move from Welfare to Work

April, 2003

Ethnographic Evidence from Working Poor Families in the New Hope Intervention

April, 2003

Responding to the Challenges of Adult Student Persistence in Library Literacy Programs

April, 2003

Based on a study of nine adult literacy programs in public libraries, this report examines student characteristics, participation patterns, and new strategies to raise student persistence.

Lessons and Implications for Future Community Employment Initiatives

March, 2003

Drawing upon the experiences of the lead community organizations during the initiative’s implementation phase, this third and final NJI report explores the feasibility and effectiveness of NJI’s novel approach to neighborhood revitalization.

Case Studies of How Urban School Systems Improve Student Achievement

September, 2002

Some of the nation's fastest improving urban school systems are raising overall academic performance while reducing achievement gaps among students of different racial groups. But instead of taking a school-by-school approach, they are tackling education reform on a district wide basis.

How Welfare and Work Policies Influence Parents' Decisions

August, 2002

Congressional deliberations on the future of welfare reform have reopened a debate about whether current child care assistance programs adequately support employment among low-income working parents while also fostering their children's development. Issues at the forefront of this debate are explored in this timely new policy brief.

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.

Developing the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative in Fort Worth, Texas

May, 2002

A Synthesis of Research

May, 2002

The latest research synthesis from the Next Generation project takes a closer look at troubling findings regarding the effects of welfare and work programs on the teenaged children of program enrollees.

An Introduction to the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

February, 2002

Welfare reform has resulted in millions of low-income parents replacing the receipt of public cash assistance with income from employment. But what strategies will help the new workforce entrants find more stable jobs, advance in the labor market, and achieve long-term self-sufficiency? The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) evaluation is a comprehensive effort to explore this urgent public policy question.

Integrating and Instrumental Variables Analytic Method with an Experimental Design

January, 2002

Welfare-Reliant Women's Post-TANF Views of Work-Family Trade-offs and Marriage

December, 2001

Situating Child Care and Child Care Subsidy Use in the Daily Routines of Lower-Income Families

December, 2001

Impressions of Community College Access and Retention from Low-Wage Workers

November, 2001

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

The Effects of Welfare and Employment Programs on Child Care

September, 2001

Studying Efforts to Increase Adult Learner Persistence in Library Literacy Programs

September, 2001

An Early Report on the Vision and Challenges of Bringing an Employment Focus to a Community-Building Initiative

May, 2001

Introducing a Study of Adult Learner Persistence in Library Literacy Programs

August, 2000

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

January, 1997

Final Report on a Program for School Dropouts

October, 1993

Findings from a Program for Disadvantaged High School Students

October, 1990

Project Overview

Increasingly, too many of our nation’s young adults are struggling to obtain the educational credentials needed to be successful, productive members of society. Nearly 39 million adults in the United States do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent; moreover, every year, more than 1.3 million students drop out of high school.

Project Overview

Many U.S. households do not have enough savings to help them manage temporary losses of income or increased expenditures from unexpected events. Having such savings is even more critical for low- and moderate-income families.

Project Overview

Past evaluations have provided solid evidence regarding what works to help low-income individuals become employed. However, these studies have also found that many people who found jobs were not better off financially, in part because these jobs were unstable, low-paying, and provided few advancement opportunities.

Project Overview

The New York City Center for Economic Opportunity has selected MDRC and its partners to implement and evaluate a pilot program to simulate an expanded EITC in New York City for low-income single workers without dependent children, with the goal of increasing employment and earnings and reducing poverty.

Project Overview

Making Pre-K Count is the result of a partnership between MDRC and the Robin Hood Foundation whose goal is to build evidence about ways to improve the life trajectories of children living in poverty in New York City. The partnership’s first project focuses on improving preschool children’s math skills.

Project Overview

Many cities have large numbers of “disconnected” young adults: young men and women who are out of work and out of school. These young adults’ limited education and work experience severely reduce their prospects for becoming economically self-sufficient members of society.

Project Overview

MDRC is participating in the nation’s first Social Impact Bond, an innovative way to fund promising new programs at no cost to taxpayers.

Project Overview

In March 2007, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his intention to test a set of antipoverty initiatives, called Opportunity NYC, which would use temporary cash payments to poor families to boost their income in the short term, while building their capacity to avoid longer-term and second-generation poverty.

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

About two-thirds of high school dropouts continue their education and obtain a high school credential within eight years of their scheduled graduation date. The vast majority obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate rather than a high school diploma.

Project Overview

Despite skyrocketing health care spending, many people in the United States do not receive the health care they need.

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. In 2010, through the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund, the U.S.

Project Overview

The New York City public school system is the largest in the United States, with over 1,200 schools and more than 1.1 million students enrolled each year. In the last decade, it has also been the site of an unprecedented investment in high school reform.

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

In recent decades, families have shown a steady decline in their ability to weather a financial emergency. A study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2011 estimated that about one-quarter of Americans lack the capacity to cover an unexpected expense by coming up with $2,000 within 30 days.

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

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

In the past three decades, broad economic shifts have sharply decreased the availability of good jobs for workers without postsecondary education. Disadvantaged men have been particularly hard hit by these trends.

Project Overview

In April 2005, approximately 776,000 youth with disabilities ages 14 to 25 were receiving federal Supplemental Security Benefits, and the expected lifetime stay on the disability rolls for those who began receiving SSI under age 18 was a total of 27 years.

Project Overview

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is the federal government’s largest source of federally funded employment services and training. WIA is the latest in a series of federal employment and training programs, the first having arisen in response to the Great Depression.

Project Overview

Fueled by a strong economy and passage of the 1996 federal welfare law, which imposed new work requirements and time limits on cash benefits, welfare caseloads declined precipitously during the 1990s.

Project Overview

Over the past two decades, poverty has become increasingly concentrated in the nation’s inner cities, while many employment opportunities — especially entry-level jobs for people with limited education and skills — have relocated to the urban periphery.

Project Overview

The federal welfare overhaul of 1996 ushered in myriad policy changes aimed at getting low-income parents off public assistance and into employment.

Project Overview

For low-income youth who lack basic skills and drop out of school, finding employment at a living wage is a challenge. Developed by MDRC as a nonresidential alternative to Job Corps, JOBSTART was an unusual collaborative effort to help disadvantaged young people join the economic mainstream.

Project Overview

The welfare system has been transformed over the past two decades, notably through the introduction of stricter work requirements and time limits on cash assistance in the 1990s. At the same time, government at both the federal and the state level invested in offering financial work supports of unprecedented scope to low-income parents.

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. Supported by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S.

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.

Project Overview

Many low-income children in the early grades need after-school care. And many of these children score well below their more advantaged peers on standardized tests of reading and math.

Project Overview

Big-city school districts play a critical role in educating America’s children. Although there are almost 17,000 public school districts in the United States, just 100 of them serve 23 percent of all students, 30 percent of economically disadvantaged students, and 40 percent of students from racial minorities.

Project Overview

Low-performing high schools, particularly those serving low-income communities and students of color, are often characterized by high absentee and course failure rates, substantial dropout rates, and — even for graduates — inadequate preparation for postsecondary education and the labor market.

Project Overview

Today’s labor market puts a high premium on literacy skills, even in jobs that once required little education or training. Not being able to read or write can stand in the way of finding and keeping a job or earning a living wage.

Project Overview

In increasingly common currency is the idea that effective school principals, in addition to being managers and disciplinarians, must be instructional leaders of their schools — that is, they should convey to their staff members a common vision of what good instruction looks like, provide teachers with the resources and supports th

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

A postsecondary credential has become increasingly important in the labor market, and college attendance has grown. Unfortunately, college completion remains less common, particularly in community colleges, which serve many low-income and academically underprepared students who often need remedial (developmental) courses.

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

Young people without postsecondary education or vocational credentials face an uphill battle in the competition for jobs.

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