Van Dok is a senior data manager in MDRC’s K-12 Education Department and its Center for Data Insight, as well as its initiative on Learning from Administrative Data. He is skilled in statistical analysis, statistical software (R, SAS, and some Python), and data management, and currently serves on MDRC’s Data Management Steering Committee, Data Integrity Board, and Management Committee for Learning from Administrative Data. He is the lead data manager for several MDRC studies and data-analytics projects. Studies he is working on or has worked on include Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior, United2Read, Response to Intervention, Innovative Professional Development, Employment Retention and Advancement, the Work Advancement and Support Center Demonstration, and WorkAdvance. He has extensive experience with administrative records from schools and school districts, state welfare agencies, and state employment agencies, as well as program-tracking data systems and surveys and logs of various kinds. He joined MDRC in 2001 and since then has authored or coauthored several MDRC reports. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Oslo and a master’s degree in European social history from the University of Bergen.
Impacts on Elementary School Students’ OutcomesJuly, 2022
Disruptive behaviors in school can hinder students’ learning and long-term success. This study evaluated a “multi-tiered systems of support for behavior” program, which reinforces good behavior and provides supplemental support to students in need. Overall student outcomes did not improve but students who struggled the most saw some short-term benefits.Report
Implementation and Final Impacts of the Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) DemonstrationSeptember, 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.Report
Evidence from the WASC DemonstrationOctober, 2010
Although many states are taking steps to offer simplified access to the food stamp program, little is known about the effect this might have on food stamp error rates. This paper studies the effects on error rates in two sites that were part of the Work Advancement Support Center demonstration, which aimed to help individuals in low-income jobs boost their income by making the most of available work supports, including food stamps.Report
Implementation and Early Impacts for Two Programs That Sought to Encourage Advancement Among Low-Income WorkersOctober, 2009
While these two different programs in the Employment Retention and Advancement Project both increased service receipt, neither had effects on job retention or advancement after 1.5 years of follow-up.ReportJune, 2009
WASC is an innovative strategy to help low-wage workers increase their incomes by stabilizing employment, improving skills, increasing earnings, and easing access to work supports. In its first year, WASC connected more workers to food stamps and publicly funded health care coverage and, in one site, substantially increased training activities.Report
The Employment Retention and Advancement ProjectMay, 2007
A random assignment evaluation of a voluntary postemployment program for workers who recently left welfare shows participants had increased employment and earnings during the first two years of follow-up.
Many high-need students do not learn to read well because they do not receive effective personalized literacy instruction during the early elementary grades. To address this, the data-driven A2i Professional Support System was designed by and for teachers, and it has shown strong evidence of effectiveness. A2i...Richard Hendra, Stephanie Rubino, Erika Lundquist, Melissa Wavelet, Johanna Walter, Edith Yang, Mark van Dok, Audrey Yu
TANF Data Innovation (TDI) is a national initiative to support state, local, and tribal agencies that administer Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the federal agencies that oversee this work. This initiative aims to substantially expand the routine use, integration, and...
Across the social sector, government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations are all benefiting from greater access both to more detailed and frequent data and to a variety of options for increased computing power. With data-science tools and guidance in applying them, practitioners can harness multiple sources of data to gain new insights about the individuals they serve, the contexts in which they operate, their staff members, and their program features. When such tools are incorporated into daily operations in a responsible way, they can help practitioners improve their programs and the lives of those they serve.
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior: Helping School Staff Support Appropriate Student BehaviorFred Doolittle, Mark van Dok, Pei Zhu, Barbara Condliffe, Sonia Drohojowska, Emma Alterman, Osvaldo Avila, Jedediah J. Teres, Hannah Power
Too often, elementary school students lack the behavioral and social skills necessary to focus on academics and achieve in school. Without proper support, teachers inevitably spend far too much time managing their students’ behavior and too little time actually teaching. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B) is not a specific...
This project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides research and evaluation support for the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, which seeks to clarify the extent to which changes in school district professional development systems lead to different teacher experiences and measurable improvements in key...
In recent decades, families have shown a steady decline in their ability to weather a financial emergency. A study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2011 estimated that about one-quarter of Americans lack the capacity to cover an unexpected expense by coming up with $2,000 within 30 days.James A. Riccio, Gilda Azurdia, Edith Yang, Donna Wharton-Fields, Nandita Verma, Caroline Schultz, Frieda Molina, Cynthia Miller, Richard Hendra, Barbara S. Goldman, Jared Smith, Mark van Dok, Natasha Piatnitskaia, Betsy L. Tessler, Stephanie Rubino, Sharon Rowser
The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), an initiative enacted under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, deploys millions of dollars in public-private funds to expand effective solutions in three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development...Richard Hendra, Cynthia Miller, Susan Scrivener, Frieda Molina, David Navarro, Barbara S. Goldman, Dan Bloom, John Martinez, Mark van Dok, Erika Lundquist, Edith Yang, Alexandra Pennington
The federal welfare overhaul of 1996 ushered in myriad policy changes aimed at getting low-income parents off public assistance and into employment. These changes — especially cash welfare’s transformation from an entitlement into a time-limited benefit contingent on work participation — have intensified the need to help low-income families become economically self-...Frieda Molina, Cynthia Miller, David Navarro, James A. Riccio, Caroline Schultz, Betsy L. Tessler, Mark van Dok, Anne Warren, Alexandra Pennington
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. Low-wage workers represent a significant segment of the nation’s workforce: According to the Bureau of Labor...