Grossman joined MDRC in 2011 as a part-time senior fellow in the K-12 Education policy area. She is working on several projects related to youth education and employment. One project is studying how five workforce development systems are changing to serve young adults better by incorporating positive youth development practices, being employer driven, working together more effectively, and incorporating a race, equity, and inclusion lens into their work. Two other projects are focused on helping Job Corps build evidence to strengthen its program. Grossman also leads a project to write a series of practitioner-oriented briefs that present concrete actions school districts can take to improve the social-emotional well-being of their students in service of improving educational equity.
In addition to her position at MDRC, Grossman teaches courses on program evaluation and youth programs as a member of the faculty of Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. Immediately prior to joining MDRC, Grossman served as chief evaluation officer for the U.S. Department of Labor, where she was responsible for developing and overseeing evaluations for all agencies in the department, including evaluations of training programs, the unemployment insurance program, worker-protection strategies, and worker-benefit programs. She has over two decades of experience developing and conducting both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of a wide variety of social programs—employment and training, health, welfare, dropout prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, education, and youth programs—including a dozen random assignment evaluations. Grossman is an economist who received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976 and her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.
MDRC PublicationsBriefMay, 2022
This is the fifth in a series of briefs highlighting strategies to increase educational equity by addressing students’ social and emotional needs. It describes strategies that school systems are using to increase students’ sense of school belonging and connectedness.Brief
Solutions Through Social and Emotional Well-BeingJuly, 2021
This is the first in a series of briefs highlighting strategies to increase educational equity by addressing students’ social and emotional needs. It describes how environmental and structural factors cause disparities in social and emotional well-being that affect learning, then lays out three levels of change to address this inequity.Brief
Building on Strengths Students Have Gained After a Year of TurmoilJuly, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many students, but many have also grown tremendously from the events they experienced in 2020. This brief discusses service learning as a practice that draws on the skills and community awareness students have developed through the past year, and that also can help them rebound.Report
Assessing Higher Achievement’s Out-of-School Expansion EffortsJune, 2020
The intensive program for middle school students was successfully replicated in three new cities, significantly improving grades after two years. The findings suggest that Higher Achievement could be a model nationwide to help close the learning gap between children born into poverty and their middle-class peers.ReportJune, 2020
Higher Achievement, which serves fifth- through eighth-graders, is an effective after-school and summer program that improved middle school students’ math and reading test scores and the academic quality of many students’ high schools. These short-term gains did not translate into impacts on the types of colleges that students attended.Report
A Report from the Investing in Innovation (i3) EvaluationJune, 2017
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.Brief
Early Lessons from Completion by DesignSeptember, 2015
Only about 20 percent of full-time degree-seeking students entering public two-year schools earn a degree within three years. In seeking solutions, community colleges typically focus on one institutional problem at a time. This brief looks at the experiences of five community colleges attempting a systemwide reform to substantially increase completion rates.ReportMarch, 2015
This report examines the implementation and effects of an academic summer program for middle school students offered by Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL). The findings suggest that BELL students did not outperform non-BELL students in reading, but that the program may have had a positive effect on students’ math achievement.Report
An Evaluation of an Effort to Help Nonprofits Manage Their FinancesFebruary, 2015
Nonprofit organizations, which deliver many of the social services Americans receive, often face financial management challenges that affect the quality of their services. This report examines how 25 Chicago-based organizations responded over a four-year period to an initiative designed to improve their ability to address those financial challenges.Report
Staying On Track: Testing Higher Achievement’s Long-Term Impact on Academic Outcomes and High School ChoiceOctober, 2013
This report, a Public/Private Ventures project distributed by MDRC, summarizes findings from a four-year random assignment study of an out-of-school-time program for middle-schoolers. Students in the program did better on standardized tests and were more likely to attend private high schools.Working Paper
Using Volunteers to Improve the Academic Outcomes of Underserved StudentsAugust, 2013
School-based mentoring programs have been shown to improve students’ academic performance and self-confidence. This study examines what makes the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America school-based mentoring program effective, offering key insights for practitioners. It also contributes a theoretical structure with which to assess other randomized evaluations of such programs.Report
Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk ProfilesFebruary, 2013
This report, a Public/Private Ventures project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presents results from the nation’s first large-scale study to examine how the levels and sources of risk youth face may influence their mentoring relationships and the benefits they derive from participating in mentoring programs.ReportSeptember, 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.Report
Findings After the First Year of ImplementationJune, 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.Report
Findings from the Extended-Service Schools InitiativeJune, 2002
Launched in 1997, the Extended-Service Schools (ESS) Initiative helped establish after-school programs in 17 communities across the country, each of which adapted one of four program models to local circumstances and needs.
To improve the equity and effectiveness of workforce systems for young adults, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched Generation Work to connect more young adults—especially young people of color from families with low incomes—with meaningful employment by changing the way public and private systems prepare them and support their job search. Partnerships of key...Jean Grossman, Shira Kolnik Mattera, Barbara Condliffe, Dina A. R. Israel, Jedediah J. Teres, Hannah Dalporto, Sonia Drohojowska, Lauren Scarola, Frieda Molina, Rebecca Schwartz, Mei Huang, Rebecca Davis, Julia Walsh
The pandemic has led to unfinished learning for a broad swath of students. This unfinished learning has also exacerbated existing disparities in student outcomes by race and ethnicity, income, and geography. Research has shown that high-dosage tutoring...
The inequities of educational outcomes, which in turn lead to inequities in other long-term outcomes, have long been issues of concern for policymakers and educators. For decades, academic programs and policies have been developed to address achievement gaps, yet disparities persist. However, districts and educational policymakers have not fully appreciated how the...
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps program provides education and training to disadvantaged young people. It offers high school education services combined with career and technical training in a residential setting. The Cascades College and Career Academy (CCCA) pilot is an ambitious and evidence-based attempt...
Almost 42 percent of third-grade students in Philadelphia are reading at or above grade level — which means that about 58 percent are reading below that level. For elementary school students, reading proficiency is critical not only for doing well in school, but for remaining in school in the future. In response to this situation, the City of Philadelphia put forth the...Caitlin Anzelone, Emily Marano, Dan Bloom, Jean Grossman, John Hutchins, Jared Smith, Frieda Molina, Clinton Key, Sophia Sutcliffe, Jessica Kopsic, Rebecca Schwartz, Sophia Sutcliffe, Faith Lewis, Mary Bambino
The goal of human services programs is to help individuals and families meet critical needs and improve their well-being. But many of these programs require participants to navigate complicated processes—involving many decisions and actions—to receive resources and services. Behavioral science research generates insights about human behavior, including how and why...
Under-resourced students will have a steep road ahead as they master new Common Core standards. Schools will also face the challenge of finding sufficient resources to deliver higher-level content in effective, engaging ways. Out-of-school-time (OST) programs, particularly those focused on academic performance, could be one way to provide...
Nonprofit organizations, which deliver many of the social services Americans receive, often suffer from weak financial management capacity that affects the quality of their services. Between 2009 and 2013, the Wallace Foundation undertook an initiative to test if it could: (1) strengthen the financial capabilities of nonprofit staff, comparing the results of two models...
Middle school is a crucial stage for math instruction because students must master the context needed for more advanced high school math. But middle school math achievement has been difficult to improve. While the mathematics performance of American students has improved in recent years it still remains unimpressive by international standards, and the steep decline in...Megan Millenky, Jean Grossman, Louisa Treskon, Melanie Skemer, Sally Dai, Lily Freedman, Caroline Mage
Young girls and women make up an increasing share of the youth in the juvenile justice system, despite a national decline in the overall rate of juvenile incarceration in this country. In 2011, girls made up nearly 30 percent of all juvenile arrests, up from 20 percent in 1980. However, girls account for a very small share of the juvenile arrests for violent crimes and...Kate Gualtieri, Dan Bloom, Melissa Boynton, William Corrin, Fred Doolittle, John Martinez, Louisa Treskon, Jean Grossman, Leigh Parise, Marie-Andrée Somers, Michelle S. Manno, Rebecca Unterman, Megan Millenky, Rashida Welbeck, Mary Bambino
The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), an initiative enacted under the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act, targets millions of dollars in public-private funds to expand effective solutions across three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support.
Despite the increasing importance of a postsecondary credential in today’s labor market, degree completion rates for community college students have stagnated. Two out of every three students who enroll in community college fail to earn a degree or certificate within six years, an outcome with serious consequences for their individual economic well-being as well as the...
Especially in low-income neighborhoods, schools are an attractive setting for after-school programs for many reasons, including their physical facilities and their convenience. Indeed, the vision of some youth development experts is to transform public schools into full-service youth and community centers that open early in the morning and stay open into the early...