MDRC’s initiatives seek to promote academic success, particularly in reading and math, and to ease the transition from middle school to high school, through innovative instructional programs, intensive professional development, and structural changes in schools.

The Latest
Report

Academic language skills are critical for reading and understanding content for all students, and particularly for English learners and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This study investigated WordGen Elementary, a program designed to improve fourth- and fifth-grade students’ ability to understand and communicate academic language and their general reading skill.

Report

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.

Key Documents
Issue Focus

Early Reflections from MDRC’s Evaluation of the Innovative Professional Development Challenge

In the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping school districts redesign their teacher professional development systems to better support teachers in increasing student success. This Issue Focus, the second in a series, offers some early reflections from MDRC’s study of it.

Report

A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills

This report reviews 95 studies on how families’ involvement in children’s learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children. The review also offers recommendations for additional lines of inquiry and discusses next steps in research and practice.

Issue Focus

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states greater responsibility for choosing strategies to improve underperforming schools. For over a decade, MDRC has rigorously evaluated school improvement strategies, collecting evidence that can help states determine which strategies are likely to work. This Issue Focus describes four of MDRC’s most recent studies.