Elementary and Middle School Students

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

The Latest
Report

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

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.

Key Documents
Report

How Families Responded to Education Incentives in New York City’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program

Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards was a conditional cash transfer program that provided payments to low-income families for achieving specific health, education, and employment goals. Drawing on in-depth interviews, this report looks at how families viewed the education incentives, communicated about them with their children, reinforced educational rewards, and advanced their quality of life through the program.

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.