In this commentary, which originally appeared in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, MDRC’s Alex Mayer and Alyssa Ratledge describe evidence-backed strategies that colleges can employ this fall to help students stay engaged.
Adapting the Evidence for 2020 and Beyond
MDRC has studied a number of strategies for helping students stay in college and succeed there. Lessons from some of these models may be readily adapted to support students and close equity gaps now and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This Issue Focus offers three lessons taken from MDRC’s evaluations.
Toward Better College Completion Rates
MDRC has developed a body of rigorous evidence on interventions designed to help low-income college students succeed. This issue brief draws six lessons from that work for colleges and policymakers as they seek to improve college completion rates.
A Study of a Transition Program Serving Students with Low Math Skills at a Community College
A four-week course to prepare students for developmental-level math did not attract many students who were referred to it. While some participants gained needed skills, most did not complete the course or move on to developmental math, and communication about the course among staff, faculty, advisors, and students was inconsistent.
Three-Year Results from the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) Ohio Demonstration
This report presents findings through three years from a replication of the City University of New York Accelerated Study in Associate Programs model at three community colleges in Ohio. The Ohio programs nearly doubled degree receipt through three years and led to an increase in transfers to four-year colleges.
Findings from the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Impact Study
This instructional reform diversifies math course content so that it better aligns with students’ career interests. After three semesters, the reform increased developmental math students’ rates of taking and passing college-level math and accumulating math credits. Few effects have yet emerged on overall credit accumulation, degree receipt, or transfer to a four-year college.
Two-Year Findings from the ASAP Ohio Demonstration
The highly successful Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), developed by the City University of New York, has been shown to nearly double graduation rates after three years. This brief presents results after two years from a replication of ASAP at three community colleges in Ohio.
A Case Study of Lorain County Community College’s Comprehensive Student Success Program
In 2014, Lorain County Community College launched Students Accelerating in Learning (SAIL), a comprehensive student success program that is substantially improving persistence and graduation rates among low-income students. This brief describes the steps Lorain took to fund and institutionalize SAIL that are now making it easier to sustain the program.
This paper reports outcomes for community college students who took modularized, self-paced, computer-assisted, remedial math courses with outcomes of students who took “traditional” (that is, mostly lecture-based) classes. Modularized courses were no more (or less) effective than traditional courses at helping students complete their developmental math requirements.
Interim Findings on Developmental Students’ Progress to College Math with the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways
This community college reform directs remedial math students into accelerated course sequences focused on statistics or quantitative reasoning, depending on their programs of study. In a random assignment evaluation, students in the pathways group are enrolling in and passing college-level math at a higher rate than students in traditional courses.