MDRC is examining programs to help struggling students through “catch-up” classes, tutoring and mentoring, supplementary literacy classes, classes designed to counteract instructional deficits, and case management and “high-intensity” supports for children with the greatest challenges.

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The Detroit Promise allows the city’s high school graduates to attend local colleges tuition-free. To that scholarship the Detroit Promise Path adds campus coaches, monthly financial support, enhanced summer engagement, and messages informed by behavioral science. Interim findings about persistence in school, full-time enrollment, and credit accumulation are all positive.

Issue Focus

This Excel tool is intended for colleges undertaking student success programs. It helps colleges set benchmarks: outcome measures that they can use over a defined time period to measure success relative to a prespecified target.

Key Documents
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Three-Year Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Evaluation

After three years, participants in National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, an intensive, “quasi-military” residential program for high school dropouts, are more likely than their control group counterparts to have obtained a GED or high school diploma, to have earned college credits, and to be working. Their earnings are also 20 percent higher.

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Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model

Talent Development, a high school reform initiative, produced substantial positive effects on attendance, academic course credits earned, tenth-grade promotion, and algebra pass rates for students in very low-performing schools in Philadelphia.

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Examples, Evidence, and Prospects

High school reform is increasingly focused on the role of career-technical education (CTE) in preparing all students for success in both college and career. Instead of stand-alone vocational courses, programs that merge CTE, rigorous academics, and career exploration are gaining momentum, but schools need resources and training to implement them.