MDRC runs and evaluates programs that work with high school students inside and outside of schools to increase their academic achievement, reduce their chances of dropping out, and smooth the transition into postsecondary education and work.

The Latest
Issue Focus

This evaluation examines a “growth mindset” intervention for ninth-graders as they make the transition to high school. It aims to boost students’ ability to meet challenges and persist in school by demonstrating that academic setbacks do not indicate poor intelligence ― with the goal of enhancing academic resilience and, ultimately, performance.

Brief

Four years after scheduled graduation, students from small high schools of choice, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, were more likely to be enrolled in postsecondary education and to be participating in “productive activity” (being in college, being employed, or both) than their control group counterparts.

Key Documents
Report

An Exploratory Study of College Readiness Partnership Programs in Texas

College readiness partnership programs bring together colleges and K-12 institutions to reduce the number of students who need remedial courses when they get to college. This report examines 37 partnerships in Texas to identify key characteristics of the programs, as well as benefits and challenges associated with their implementation and sustainability.

Report

Eight-year findings on Career Academies — a popular high school reform that combines academics with career development opportunities — show that the programs produced sustained employment and earnings gains, particularly among young men. Career Academy participants were also more likely to be living independently with children and a spouse or a partner.

Report

A Guide for Helping Students Make Informed College Choices

This guide for counselors and advisers offers strategies for helping low-income high school students choose selective colleges that match their academic profiles, financial considerations, and personal needs. It tracks the many steps in the college search, application, and selection process, suggesting ways to incorporate a “match” focus at each stage.