The Detroit Promise allows the city’s high school graduates to attend local colleges tuition-free. To that existing scholarship the Detroit Promise Path adds campus coaches, monthly financial support, enhanced summer engagement, and messages informed by behavioral science. Early findings from the first year are positive.
Welfare rolls declined after Temporary Assistance for Needy Families became law in 1996, and there was widespread consensus that its reforms were a bipartisan success story. But the onslaught of the Great Recession exposed serious flaws in the law. This memo describes a two-part solution based on experience and evidence.
The Case of Career and Technical Education
In the complex high school choice process, families may face an additional layer of decisions if they are considering career and technical education programs, which vary widely in their structure, content, and quality. This issue focus emphasizes the importance of providing families with clear information about how to compare them.
A Report from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation
PowerTeaching emphasizes cooperative learning to instruct middle school math and has shown strong evidence of effectiveness. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education funded an effort to scale up the program, and in 2012 MDRC began a multiyear evaluation of it. This report describes the evaluation and presents its findings.
Building a School Choice Architecture
As school choice systems expand, district enrollment offices are striving to make the choice process accessible and clear for families. This practitioner brief offers lessons for supporting families through the sequence of decisions involved as they engage in the process, search for information, and compare and select schools.
Interim Findings on Aid Like A Paycheck
This study examines whether an alternative approach to distributing financial aid — in biweekly payments instead of one or two lump sums — can improve outcomes for low-income community college students. After one semester, the policy reduced students’ debt and use of federal loans but showed little consistent evidence of academic effects.
Although most college students receive financial aid, many are left with unmet financial needs and may take on loans or drop out as a result. But promising innovations in financial aid could help students pay for college and accelerate their studies.
Boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit for Workers Without Dependent Children
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) promotes work and raises over six million Americans out of poverty each year. Early results from an ongoing demonstration suggest that expanding the EITC for singles, an idea with bipartisan support, is feasible and can increase employment and income while reducing poverty.
Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Looking Forward memo provides an overview of research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.
Interviews or Focus Groups?
Hearing directly from those who administer and take part in social programs can greatly enrich an implementation study. The Implementation Research Incubator offers some important considerations for choosing a method and discusses the preparation involved.