Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Looking Forward memo provides an overview of research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.
Seven Years Later
This paper presents the long-term effects of a learning communities program. The program’s positive effect on credit accumulation was maintained for seven years, and there is some evidence that graduation rates increased. Economic outcomes are examined, and sobering reflections on detecting effects on economic outcomes in higher education interventions are presented.
A Synthesis of Findings from an Evaluation at Six Community Colleges
MDRC’s Opening Doors Demonstration, launched in 2003 with six community colleges, provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. This 12-page policy brief describes the strategies tested, discusses the results, and offers suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for moving forward.
Effects of a Performance-Based Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents
This report describes the impacts of a performance-based scholarship program with a counseling component on academic success and persistence among low-income parents. Students who participated in the program, which was operated at two New Orleans-area colleges as part of MDRC’s multisite Opening Doors demonstration, were more likely to stay in school, get higher grades, and earn more credits.
Lessons from Research on Welfare Training Programs and Two Promising Community College Strategies
This working paper, prepared for a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, reviews what is known about education acquisition by low-wage workers and highlights promising strategies being tested at several community colleges.
Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration in Ohio
This report presents the early results from MDRC’s evaluation of the Opening Doors program at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. The two-semester program offered intensive student advising services and a modest scholarship to low-income students to encourage them to stay in school and earn credentials.
Early Results of a Louisiana Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents Attending Community College
Funded by state welfare dollars, two community colleges in the New Orleans area offered performance-based scholarships and enhanced counseling to low-income parents, as part of MDRC’s Opening Doors demonstration. These early findings show the program had significant positive effects on academic achievement and rates of retention.
The Opening Doors Demonstration
The Opening Doors Demonstration is designed to show how community colleges can help more low-income students remain in school and improve other outcomes, including degree attainment, labor market success, and personal and social well-being.
Services That May Help Low-Income Students Succeed in Community College
Community colleges can pursue many strategies for enhancing student services, including offering “one-stop shopping,” which provides students with multiple services at the same time and place.
Instructional Innovations That Help Low-Income Students Succeed in Community College
This paper looks at curricular and program redesign strategies currently used by community colleges to speed nontraditional students’ advancement from lower levels of skill into credential programs and to shorten the time commitment required to earn a credential.