Texas

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.

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.

December, 2016

As the first major effort to use a behavioral economics lens to examine human services programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States, the BIAS project demonstrated the value of applying behavioral insights to improve the efficacy of human services programs.

The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration

November, 2016

This demonstration is testing seven enhanced transitional jobs programs that offer temporary, subsidized jobs and comprehensive support to people recently released from prison and unemployed parents behind in child support payments.

August, 2016

Jobs-Plus – a “place-based,” workforce-development model proven to help public housing residents find employment – is about to be replicated across the country. This infographics depicts the program model,  its effects on earnings, and the history of its development over the past 20 years.

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

June, 2016

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

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.

Building a Body of Evidence

April, 2016

Over the past several years, MDRC has worked with the federal Administration for Children and Families to test low-cost behavioral interventions to improve child support services in a number of states. This issue focus describes what’s been learned so far — and what’s planned for the future.

Final Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

January, 2016

SaveUSA encourages low- and moderate-income people to set aside money from their tax refund for savings by awarding a 50 percent match to successful savers. After 42 months, the program had sustained its earlier effects, increasing both the percentage of individuals with nonretirement savings and the average amount of savings.

Incremental Delivery of Financial Aid to Promote College Success

December, 2015

This infographic explains MDRC’s large-scale test of whether an innovative approach to distributing financial aid – through bi-weekly payments, like a paycheck, instead of one or two lump-sum payments – can improve academic outcomes for low-income college students.

Implementation Lessons from San Antonio and the Bronx

October, 2015

Jobs-Plus was designed to raise and sustain the employment and earnings of residents of public housing developments. This report investigates how Jobs-Plus was replicated in more contemporary settings, analyzing the early implementation experiences of a community-based provider in the Bronx, NY, and the San Antonio Housing Authority in Texas.

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.

May, 2015

MDRC’s Aid Like A Paycheck evaluation is testing whether the distribution of financial aid to students in biweekly payments over the course of a term — like a paycheck — can improve academic and financial outcomes for low-income community college students. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the project.

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.

Early Findings from the New Mathways Project

April, 2015

Developmental math is too often an obstacle to community college students’ success. By shifting the emphasis from “algebra for all” to math skills with broader career relevance — such as quantitative literacy and statistics — and revising course structure and sequence, this Texas-wide education reform is off to a promising start.

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.

Implementation, Impacts, and Costs of the Reading Partners Program

March, 2015

One-on-one tutoring by volunteers improves the reading proficiency of struggling second- to fifth-graders, according to MDRC’s random assignment study. As a program staffed mostly by volunteers, Reading Partners is substantially less costly than other supplemental reading services typically offered to struggling readers.

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.

Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications

September, 2014

A low-cost behavioral intervention increased by 11 percentage points the proportion of incarcerated noncustodial parents in Texas who applied for modifications to reduce the amount of their child support orders. This test is part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.

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.

Designing Innovative Solutions for Programs Supported by the Administration for Children and Families

April, 2014

This report describes three sites in the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, which applies tools from behavioral economics to improve the well-being of low-income individuals and families — the Texas Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Increasing Requests for Child Support Order Modifications by Incarcerated Noncustodial Parents

August, 2013

A case study from the Behaviorial Buzz newsletter of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project focused on increasing requests for child support order modifications by incarcerated noncustodial parents in Texas.

A Case Study of Two Community College Programs Designed to Accelerate Students Through Developmental Math

May, 2013

Acceleration” strategies seek to help developmental students progress to college-level math quicker. This report examines two models: one at Broward College compresses a traditional 16-week course into eight weeks and another at Tarrant County College divides a course into modules, allowing students to skip content they’ve already mastered.

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.

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.

Lessons from the Developmental Education Initiative

January, 2013

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

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.

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.

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.

An Exploratory Study of College Readiness Partnership Programs in Texas

May, 2012

College readiness partnership programs bring together colleges and K-12 institutions to reduce the number of students who need remedial courses when they get to college. This report examines 37 partnerships in Texas to identify key characteristics of the programs, as well as benefits and challenges associated with their implementation and sustainability.

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.

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.

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

October, 2011

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

What We Know About Improving Developmental Education

June, 2011

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

Three-Year Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Evaluation

June, 2011

After three years, participants in National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, an intensive, “quasi-military” residential program for high school dropouts, are more likely than their control group counterparts to have obtained a GED or high school diploma, to have earned college credits, and to be working. Their earnings are also 20 percent higher.

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.

Lessons from Research and Practice

May, 2011

This 12-page practitioner brief offers lessons for policy and practice from MDRC-conducted random assignment studies of five programs that provided earnings supplements to low-income parents to encourage employment and increase the payoff of low-wage work.

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

May, 2011

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

Implementing the Fort Worth Work Advancement and Support Center Program

April, 2011

This report examines the design and operation of a program called Project Earn, in Fort Worth, Texas, one of four sites in MDRC’s Work Advancement and Support Center demonstration. The program combined two types of income-building services for low-wage workers — skills training and connection to work supports, such as food stamps, child care subsidies, and tax credits — and delivered them in workplaces in collaboration with employers.

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.

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.

November, 2010

This report from the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project examines the 27,000 single parents who participated in the studied programs to understand the characteristics of those who successfully advanced in the labor market.

November, 2010

This report from the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project demonstrates that low-income single-parent and two-parent families have a roughly equivalent need for services to support employment retention and advancement and that this need does not differ substantially between men and women in two-parent families.

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.

Using Earnings Supplements to Improve Employment Retention and Advancement Programs in Texas and the United Kingdom

September, 2010

Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, there is less hard evidence about what can be done to help current and former recipients and other low-wage workers stay employed or advance in the labor market. This paper looks closely at one strategy — providing earnings supplements, or stipends, to current and former welfare recipients who maintain stable full-time employment — that was used at sites in Texas and in the United Kingdom.

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 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.

Reemployment Strategies in Retention and Advancement Programs for Current and Former Welfare Recipients

June, 2010

When current and former welfare recipients find jobs, they often lose them quickly and have trouble finding another job. This brief, based on the experiences of 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement evaluation, offers advice on how to design and implement practices that turn a recent job loss into an opportunity to find a better one.

Interim Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Evaluation

May, 2010

Interim results from a random assignment evaluation of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, an intensive, residential program for high school dropouts, show that young people who had access to ChalleNGe were much more likely than those in the control group to have obtained a high school diploma or a General Educational Development certificate. They were also somewhat more likely to be working, in college, or enlisted in the military.

May, 2010

This report examines the financial benefits and costs of three different programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families, that have increased employment and earnings among current and former welfare recipients.

Final Impacts for Twelve Models

April, 2010

This report presents the final implementation and impact findings for 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families. These programs attempted to promote steady work and career advancement for current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers.

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.

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.

The Policy and Practice of Assessing and Placing Students in Developmental Education Courses

March, 2010

This paper reports on case studies conducted at three community colleges to learn about how the colleges assess students for placement in developmental education courses. The case studies identify several problems and challenges, including lack of consensus about the standard for college-level work, the high-stakes nature of the assessments, and the minimal relationship between assessment for placement and diagnosis for instruction.

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.

Lessons for Practitioners

November, 2009

This 12-page brief distills practical implementation lessons from four programs that help low-wage workers access and retain child care subsidies, public health insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and other related government benefits.

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.

Early Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program Evaluation

February, 2009

Very early results from a random assignment evaluation of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, an intensive, “quasi-military” residential program for high school dropouts, show that the program has large impacts on high school diploma and GED attainment and positive effects on working, college-going, health, self-efficacy, and avoiding arrest.

Engaging Low-Wage Workers in Career Advancement

December, 2008

The Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration offers a new approach to helping low-wage and dislocated workers advance by increasing their wages or work hours, upgrading their skills, or finding better jobs. This report presents preliminary information on the effectiveness of strategies that were used to attract people to the WASC program and engage them in services.

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.

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.

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.

Lessons from the Dreamkeepers and Angel Fund Emergency Financial Aid Programs

May, 2008

For low-income students, education can be easily derailed by a temporary financial emergency, like the loss of a job or a car repair. This final report offers lessons from two programs created by Lumina Foundation for Education that provide emergency grants or loans to help students at risk of dropping out. Eleven community colleges participated in Dreamkeepers, and 26 tribal colleges or universities participated in Angel Fund.

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.

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.

Implementation and Early Lessons from the Dreamkeepers and Angel Fund Programs

February, 2007

The report describes early findings from MDRC’s evaluation of the Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Aid Program and the Angel Fund Program, two pilot programs for community college students who are at risk of dropping out because of unexpected financial crises.

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.

January, 2007

In a rapidly growing low-wage labor market, the workforce investment system and the Workforce Investment Act should expand their focus to include job retention and advancement services by engaging private employers and to enhance the accessibility of work supports.

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.

February, 2006

An evaluation of a job placement, retention, and advancement program for individuals receiving welfare showed some effects — but not consistent or large effects — on employment and retention outcomes during the first two years of follow-up.

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.

July, 2005

Early results are mixed for Employment Retention and Advancement project programs in four sites, but programs in two sites appear to help some welfare recipients work more steadily and advance to higher-paying jobs.

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.

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.

March, 2004

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

Improving Services for Low-Income Working Families

March, 2004

A collaboration of MDRC and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, this report explores how best to improve job stability and career advancement of low-wage earners and increase their household income.

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.

Early Implementation Experiences of Employment Retention and Advancement Programs

October, 2003

Describing the initial experiences of 15 Employment Retention and Advancement programs in 8 states, this report emphasizes implementation issues and focuses on connections among the agencies and institutions that deliver retention and advancement services to low-income workers and hard-to-employ populations.

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.

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.

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.

Developing the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative in Fort Worth, Texas

May, 2002

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.

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.

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

May, 2001

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

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

Behavioral science sheds light on human decision-making and behavior to better understand why people make the choices that they do.

Project Overview

With 750,000 people released from prisons each year, there is a pressing need for rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of reentry strategies. Former prisoners face a range of challenges to successful reentry into the community, including low levels of employment and substance abuse problems, all of which impact recidivism rates.

Project Overview

As community colleges try to increase graduation rates, one of the greatest challenges they face is improving the success of students in their developmental, or remedial, education programs. The New Mathways Project (NMP) was developed by the Charles A.

Project Overview

Many U.S. households do not have enough savings to help manage temporary losses of income or increased expenditures from unexpected events.

Project Overview

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

Project Overview

Can existing financial aid programs do more to help low-income college students achieve academic success?

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

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is the main federal program for increasing employment and earnings and reducing reliance on government subsidies among recipients of housing subsidies.

Project Overview

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

Project Overview

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

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

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

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

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

Project Overview

An estimated five million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are both out of school and unemployed. These youth are more likely than those who work or complete a degree to face long-term unemployment, permanent school dropout, welfare dependence, and criminal involvement and incarceration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public housing developments are among the most economically challenged neighborhoods in the United States. In fact, many public housing residents face obstacles to employment even beyond those normally experienced by other low-income people.

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.

Project Overview

Many community college students face unexpected financial emergencies. They may be caused by the loss of a job; a health crisis; an unexpected increase in rent, utilities, or child care costs; or even a fire or natural disaster. Many Americans have been hit hard by the recession.

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

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

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

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

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.