Democrats and Republicans agree it is necessary to build evidence concerning the nation’s social programs. But more should be done to improve the nation’s research capabilities, to embed evidence building in government programs, and to put evidence at the heart of making policy.
Researchers and funders often want to know not just whether a social program works, but how and why — the terrain of implementation research. This new series of monthly posts shares ideas from past program evaluations and insights from ongoing studies that can improve research approaches.
How a District Might Find a Program That Meets Local Needs
For school districts striving to meet both ESSA requirements and specific educational needs, this infographic shows how evidence can guide decisions. The evaluation of Reading Partners, a one-on-one volunteer tutoring program, serves as an example.
In 2016, MDRC has published more than 50 reports and briefs on programs affecting low-income Americans in all realms of education and social policy: education from preschool to postsecondary, workforce development, behavioral science, youth development, home visiting, and more.
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.
Promising Approaches and Next Steps
A significant gap in the rates of college degree attainment persists between men of color and their white counterparts. This brief catalogues strategies commonly used in interventions at postsecondary educational institutions aimed at improving outcomes for male students of color and charts the way forward for future evaluative work.
This document compares two approaches to improving community college outcomes — CUNY ASAP, a specific program model, and guided pathways, a framework for institutional reform — and discusses how they might be integrated to improve structure, coherence, and support for students.
The Work of MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science
This issue focus describes how MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science has completed several large-scale field studies, incorporated behavioral science into other MDRC projects, and educated policymakers and practitioners about how to use behavioral science to improve their programs.
Interim Impact Findings from the YouthBuild Evaluation
YouthBuild provides construction-related or other vocational training, educational services, counseling, and leadership-development opportunities to low-income young people ages 16 to 24 who did not complete high school. This interim report presents the program’s effects through two and a half years.
The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration
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.