Teachers and administrators are central to initiatives that MDRC is evaluating, from teacher coaching and intensive professional development to improving the instructional leadership capacities of principals and their supervisors and promoting changes in structure, instruction, governance, and accountability in low-performing schools.

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

PowerTeaching emphasizes cooperative learning to instruct middle school math and has shown strong evidence of effectiveness. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education funded an effort to scale up the program, and in 2012 MDRC began a multiyear evaluation of it. This report describes the evaluation and presents its findings.

Key Documents
Report

In a study sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences, intensive professional development programs for seventh-grade math teachers were implemented as intended, but teacher turnover limited the average dosage received. The programs had no impact on teacher knowledge or student achievement.

Report

What Two Rigorous Studies Tell Us

This synthesis reviews findings from two rigorous, large-scale evaluations — the Professional Development in Reading Study and the Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study. Both interventions had only limited effects on teachers’ knowledge and instruction and no impacts on students’ test scores. The report ends with suggestions about how professional development might be improved to achieve better results.

Report

Improving Classroom Practices in Head Start Settings

This report offers lessons about using coaches to help teachers carry out a program for improving pre-kindergarteners’ social and emotional readiness for school. It addresses selection of the coaching model; coach hiring, training, support, and supervision; coaching processes; and program management, data, and quality assurance.