Behavioral Interventions

Using Behavioral Science to Encourage Postsecondary Summer Enrollment

July, 2018

Community college students who enroll in summer courses are more likely to graduate, but most do not attend during the summer. The Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) project uses insights from behavioral science to encourage more students to enroll in summer. This brief presents EASE’s Phase I findings.

The Experience of a New Program for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System

June, 2018
Michelle S. Manno, Hannah Wagner

STRIVE International engaged MDRC to help the organization improve a new program model aimed at increasing educational attainment and employment of young adults involved in the juvenile justice system. This Issue Focus describes the partnership and offers advice to organizations implementing new programs on how to build evidence of effectiveness.

Testimony of Alexander Mayer, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Education, MDRC, Before the New Jersey State Assembly Higher Education Committee

May, 2018

On May 7, Alex Mayer discussed the challenge of developmental education for low-income college students in New Jersey and nationwide, citing recent innovations and growing evidence about what works to overcome barriers to college success. The strongest programs integrate several strategies, combining opportunity and obligation to address multiple student barriers.

March, 2018
Caitlin Anzelone, Nadine Dechausay, Xavier Alemany

This compendium of written materials comes from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project. The collection illustrates how specific concepts from behavioral science were used in different settings and formats by practitioners and program designers in child care, child support, and work-support programs.

Graduation By Design

February, 2018

Most community college students enroll in fewer than 15 credits per semester, making it nearly impossible for them to graduate in two years. Many also struggle academically. This infographic describes how the Finish Line project will attempt to use behavioral science to address these issues and thereby improve graduation rates.

Testimony Before the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance

February, 2018

On February 6, Alex Mayer, MDRC’s Deputy Director of Postsecondary Education, explained to members of two California State Assembly committees that combining and integrating evidence-based strategies to address multiple factors can be highly effective in improving completion rates among low-income college students.

Behavioral Strategies to Increase Engagement in Child Support

February, 2018

An essential step in the child support process is delivering legal documents to the person named as a parent. This intervention in Georgia applied insights from behavioral science to get more parents to come in and accept documents voluntarily instead of using a sheriff or process server to deliver them.

Lessons from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Pilot Project

January, 2018
Nadine Dechausay

Executive skills are the cognitive abilities that make it possible for people to set goals, regulate impulses, and complete the steps necessary to achieve their objectives. This paper describes a pilot of a coaching strategy based on executive skills conducted with three programs serving young people.

January, 2018
Marianne Bertrand

In this commentary from the final report on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, Marianne Bertrand talks about the potential for a broader behavioral agenda that would include larger contributions from psychology and could transform public policy in ways that might induce long-term changes in behavior.

January, 2018
Susan A. Brown

This commentary focuses on an intervention from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project that aimed to improve child support payment rates in a state-supervised program in Ohio. The author reflects on the availability of the agency’s data, the involvement of staff at all levels, clients’ experiences, and lessons learned.

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