Pennsylvania

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.

Third Annual Report

April, 2016

MIHOPE-Strong Start is the largest random assignment study to date examining the effects of home visiting services on birth and health outcomes and health care use. This report describes a partial sample of 1,200 families, explores the priorities and practices of the study programs, and discusses program recruitment.

Two-Year Impact Report

May, 2015

RExO increased the number and types of services received by participants and improved their self-reported labor market outcomes as well. But there is little evidence it had any impacts on recidivism or other outcomes. Further, the impacts on employment, while statistically significant, are quite small in practical terms.

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.

A Summary of Impact and Implementation Findings from Head Start CARES

April, 2015

This two-page issue focus summarizes the main findings from Head Start CARES, a test of three distinct classroom-based approaches to enhancing children’s social-emotional development: Incredible Years Teacher Training Program, Preschool PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies), and Tools of the Mind–Play.

The Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation-Strong Start Second Annual Report

January, 2015

Policymakers have increasingly encouraged greater use of administrative data to produce timely, rigorous, and lower-cost evaluations of health and social programs. This report details MIHOPE-Strong Start’s process of acquiring administrative vital records and Medicaid data from 20 states and more than 40 state agencies to measure health, health care use, and cost outcomes.

Exploratory Findings from the Head Start CARES Demonstration

December, 2014

This report suggests that evidence-based approaches can improve 3-year-olds’ social-emotional competence in mixed-age preschool classrooms. While the findings are promising, further research is needed to confirm the results and to better understand how these benefits are generated.

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 Success for All Model of School Reform

July, 2014

Success for All, a whole-school reading reform, received a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant in 2010 to expand to additional elementary schools. This report examines the program’s implementation and the impacts in 2012-2013, the second year of operation, on early reading skills.

National Evaluation of Three Approaches to Improving Preschoolers’ Social and Emotional Competence

June, 2014

This demonstration tested the effectiveness of three program enhancements implemented at scale that were designed to improve preschool children’s social-emotional competence. All three had positive impacts on teacher practice and on children’s social-emotional outcomes during the preschool year, although to varying degrees and not necessarily in the expected ways.

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.

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.

Large-Scale Implementation of Programs to Improve Children’s Social-Emotional Competence

December, 2013

This report describes the extent to which three different classroom-based social-emotional strategies and related professional development supports were implemented as intended in Head Start centers, as well as the degree to which teachers’ practices changed as a result.

December, 2013

MIHOPE-Strong Start, a collaboration of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, assesses the impacts of home visiting programs for disadvantaged expectant mothers. This report describes the study and the programs: Healthy Families America and Nurse-Family Partnership.

Early Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Scale-Up

October, 2013

Success for All, a whole-school reading reform, received a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant in 2010 to expand to additional elementary schools. This report examines the program’s implementation and its impact in 2011-2012, the first year of operation, on kindergartners’ early reading.

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.

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.

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

May, 2012
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.

Improving Classroom Practices in Head Start Settings

February, 2012

This report offers lessons about using coaches to help teachers carry out a program for improving pre-kindergarteners’ social and emotional readiness for school. It addresses selection of the coaching model; coach hiring, training, support, and supervision; coaching processes; and program management, data, and quality assurance.

Final Results from a Test of Transitional Jobs and Preemployment Services in Philadelphia

December, 2011

An evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for long-term welfare recipients finds that: (1) transitional jobs substantially increased employment in the short term, but these effects faded after one year, and (2) it is difficult to engage welfare recipients in extensive preemployment services long enough to improve their employability.

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.

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.

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.

Testing Transitional Jobs and Pre-Employment Services in Philadelphia

October, 2009

Interim results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for long-term welfare recipients show that transitional jobs increase employment and earnings but that it is difficult to successfully engage participants in extensive pre-employment services.

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.

Career Academies Combine Academic Rigor and Workplace Relevance

August, 2008

This “snapshot,” published by the National High School Center, takes a close look at implementation of the Career Academy model in one high school in Oakland, California.

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.

June, 2008

Eight-year findings on Career Academies — a popular high school reform that combines academics with career development opportunities — show that the programs produced sustained employment and earnings gains, particularly among young men. Career Academy participants were also more likely to be living independently with children and a spouse or a partner.

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.

May, 2007

This issue brief, published by the National High School Center, suggests that transitions into high school can be eased when both structural and specialized curricula reforms are in place.

May, 2007

This “snapshot,” published by the National High School Center, explains how Thomas A. Edison High School in Philadelphia implemented a Ninth-Grade Success Academy.

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.

Income Support Systems in Cuyahoga and Philadelphia, 2000 to 2005

March, 2007

This report, part of MDRC’s Project on Devolution and Urban Change, tells the story of Cleveland’s and Philadelphia’s welfare systems in the early 2000s, a time marked by an economic downturn, state budget cuts, and welfare time limits.

January, 2007

MDRC’s research on Career Academies, First Things First, Project GRAD, and Talent Development suggests that the twin pillars of high school reform are structural changes to improve personalization and instructional improvement.

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.

Design Principles for a Study on Teacher Incentives

February, 2006

This paper, produced by MDRC and the Laboratory for Student Success at Temple University, describes design principles for a study about the use of incentives to recruit and retain high-quality teachers for underperforming schools.

A Study in Four Big Cities
A Technical Report

December, 2005

This technical report describes food stamp caseload dynamics between January 1993 and December 2001 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Los Angeles, California; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods

August, 2005

Welfare caseloads fell, employment increased, and neighborhood conditions improved in Los Angeles during a period of economic growth and welfare reform. However, most welfare recipients still remained poor, the concentration of poverty increased, and those who worked were usually in low-wage jobs without benefits.

Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model

May, 2005

Talent Development, a high school reform initiative, produced substantial positive effects on attendance, academic course credits earned, tenth-grade promotion, and algebra pass rates for students in very low-performing schools in Philadelphia.

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.

Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Students’ Performance and Attendance

December, 2004

During the first three years of implementation in six urban schools, The Talent Development Middle School model—an ongoing, whole-school reform initiative—had a positive impact on math achievement for eighth-graders but appeared to produce no systematic improvement in outcomes for seventh-graders.

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.

Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods

June, 2004

Welfare caseloads fell, employment increased, and social conditions generally improved in Miami-Dade County after the 1996 federal welfare reform law was passed, but the county’s welfare-to-work program was poorly implemented and unusually harsh.

Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Ninth-Grade Students’ Engagement and Performance

June, 2004

An examination of the implementation and early impacts of Talent Development, a whole-school reform initiative, found that the model produced substantial gains in ninth-grade students’ course completion and promotion rates.

April, 2004

In MDRC’s study of over 160,000 single-parent welfare recipients, families who repeatedly return to welfare assistance—“cyclers”—were less disadvantaged in the labor market than long-term welfare recipients. At the same time, they were less able than short-term recipients to attain stable employment and to work without welfare.

March, 2004

Career Academies produced substantial and sustained improvements in earnings of young men after high school, without limiting opportunities to attend college.

Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods

October, 2003

Based on a comprehensive body of evidence, this report from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change examines how changes in Pennsylvania’s welfare reform policies combined with a strong regional economy in the late 1990s to create substantial change in the welfare system in Philadelphia.

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.

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

How Mothers Meet Basic Family Needs While Moving from Welfare to Work

April, 2003

How Are They Faring?

January, 2003

Responding to the growing need to understand whether people who have left the welfare rolls since the passage of the 1996 welfare reform law are able to find and keep jobs and earn enough to lift their families out of poverty, this study compares two groups of single-parent welfare recipients — one that left the welfare rolls in 1996, and a similar group who exited welfare in 1998 —investigating their background characteristics, their employment and earnings experiences, and their material well-being.

January, 2003

This report studies the post-welfare experiences of three groups — two that received federal housing assistance when they left the welfare rolls and an unassisted group that did not — to see how they differ with respect to their labor market outcomes, material well-being, and propensity to return to the welfare rolls or rely on other forms of public assistance.

Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods

September, 2002

This report from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change examines how welfare reform has played out in Ohio's Cuyahoga County, which encompasses Cleveland, based on a comprehensive body of evidence that includes administrative records, surveys, and ethnographic interviews.

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.

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.

Lessons from Four Big Cities as They Implement Welfare Reform

March, 2002

Integrating and Instrumental Variables Analytic Method with an Experimental Design

January, 2002

A Resource Directory for Career Academies

January, 2002

One of the most widely adopted school reform approaches in the nation, the Career Academies movement has spread to more than 3,000 schools and school districts — and, in the process, has spawned a rich network of information outlets and resources aimed at the communities of Career Academy adherents.

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

The Experiences of Current and Former Welfare Mothers Who Work

November, 2001

The Effects of Welfare and Employment Programs on Child Care

September, 2001

Findings from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change

May, 2001

Factors That Aid or Impede Their Receipt

January, 2001

Early Implementation and Ethnographic Findings from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change

April, 1999

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

Final Report on a Program for School Dropouts

October, 1993

This report, which completes the JOBSTART Demonstration, addresses issues closely linked to the nation’s ongoing debate about how best to improve the employment and earnings prospects of low-skilled, economically disadvantaged young people, who otherwise live outside the economic mainstream.

Project Overview

Young people with juvenile justice involvement face many challenges, which may include a lack of education and employment skills, antisocial attitudes and values, unstable housing, and much more. These challenges make it difficult for them to pursue educational pursuits or enter the workforce and become productive citizens.

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

Teach for America (TFA) is a national, externally validated program that recruits, selects, and trains new teachers, referred to as corps members, for placement in high-need urban and rural communities across the country, with the expectation that they put their students on the path to college and life success.

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

Adverse birth outcomes result in significant emotional and economic costs for families and communities. One promising avenue for helping expectant women is home visiting programs, which work with parents to promote prenatal care and improve infant health.

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

Head Start, which serves nearly 1 million low-income children, is the nation’s largest federally sponsored early childhood education program.

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

For low-income youth who lack basic skills and drop out of school, finding employment at a living wage is a challenge.

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

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

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 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

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

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

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 problems of urban middle and high schools are rooted in the inadequate preparation that too many students receive in elementary schools, and these problems become most visible in the ninth grade, when students encounter more demanding coursework and tougher requirements for grade-level promotion.