Curricular/Instructional Reforms

Issue Focus
April, 2020

Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.

Brief

Introducing ExCEL P-3, a Study from the Expanding Children’s Early Learning Network

July, 2017
Meghan McCormick, JoAnn Hsueh, Christina Weiland, Michael Bangser

The ExCEL Network, a collaboration of researchers, preschool providers, and local officials, is exploring how benefits of early childhood interventions persist. The ExCEL P-3 project examines whether one preschool program, reinforced by a system-wide alignment of instruction into elementary school, has impacts on a range of skills through third grade.

Twenty-first-century skills (also known as noncognitive, employability, or soft skills) are increasingly viewed as essential for favorable outcomes in both education and employment. Yet employers consistently report that these abilities — such as working well with a team, problem-solving, and thriving in diverse work settings — are lacking in their employees and job...

The idea for this high school model began in 2010 in New York City when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a public-private partnership of the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York, the New York City College of Technology, and IBM to develop a new approach to secondary and postsecondary education. The result was P- TECH...

Report

A Report from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation

June, 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.

Issue Focus
June, 2017

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.

Brief

Early Findings from a Study of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

May, 2017
Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, John Diamond, Elena Serna-Wallender

A promising new community college intervention involves a revised developmental math course that emphasizes statistical and quantitative reasoning skills to align with students’ fields of study. In a random assignment evaluation at four schools in Texas, students report a qualitatively different experience with math instruction.

Testimony

Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Higher Education

April, 2017

In the City University of New York’s innovative program, CUNY’s least prepared students delay matriculation, beginning instead with noncredit, time-intensive instruction aimed at eliminating developmental needs after one semester, preparing participants for college courses, and improving academic outcomes. An independent evaluation will help determine CUNY Start’s effect on academic success.

Brief

Are School Districts Ready to Meet New Federal Goals?

March, 2017

This brief, which draws on data from a large survey of secondary school teachers and principals, discusses how existing evaluation and support systems could be better used to realize the vision of teacher improvement now included in federal law under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

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