Elementary and Middle School Students

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

The Latest
Brief

Schools have long struggled to reengage students who have poor attendance or who drop out—a situation that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. During 2021–2022, Communities In Schools introduced the Reengagement Coordinator Initiative, aimed at reengaging high school students who did not reenroll or were chronically absent.

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.

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.