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
Working Paper

Examining the scholarly literature published since a seminal review in 2000, this working paper discusses the principles that underlie project-based learning, how it has been used in K-12 settings, the challenges teachers have confronted in implementing it, and what is known about its effectiveness in improving students’ learning outcomes.

Report

FSS provides case management services and a long-term escrow-savings account to housing-assisted families; an enhanced version also offered short-term cash work incentives. Six-year results of the random assignment evaluation show few significant effects overall for either program. However, the enhanced program increased employment and earnings for participants not working at enrollment.

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.