This working paper (forthcoming in July 2018 as a chapter in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science) updates the existing pipeline paradigm for evidence building with a cyclical paradigm that encompasses evidence building, implementation, and adaptation.
A Literature Review
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.
A Scan of the Literature and Current Approaches
Low-income and minority children suffer disproportionately from asthma. This review examines efforts to improve education and self-management, remediate asthma “triggers” at home, and improve health care provider practice. It concludes that asthma management education; proper, sustained medication regimes; cost-effective, replicable programs; and steady funding are all critical for addressing health disparities.
Seeds of a Revolution
This working paper describes the revolution in the United States in support for the use of randomized controlled experiments to evaluate social programs. Focusing on the welfare reform studies conducted between 1970 and the early 2000s, it presents the major challenges to winning this support and how they were overcome.
A Scan of the Evidence
Disconnected young people are the focus of several recent national initiatives to improve their life prospects. Drawing on interviews and available research, this MDRC Working Paper scans the current state of policy and evidence regarding what works in helping young people reconnect to work or school.
Results from a Performance-Based Scholarship Experiment
This random assignment study examines the long-term impacts of a program at The University of New Mexico offering low-income first-year students enhanced academic advising and financial aid that is contingent on performance. It finds that the program increased credit hour accumulation during the first two years and graduation rates after five years.
This random assignment study examines the long-term impacts of a community college program offering financial aid that is contingent on academic performance. Focusing on low-income parents, mostly mothers, it finds that the program decreased the time it took students to earn a degree but did not increase employment or earnings.
Using data from the Head Start Impact Study, this paper examines variation in Head Start effects across individual children, policy-relevant subgroups of children, and Head Start centers. It finds that past estimates of the average effect of Head Start programs mask a wide range of relative program effectiveness.
The city’s small, academically nonselective high schools have substantially improved graduation rates for disadvantaged students. This report demonstrates that, because more of their students graduate and do so within four years, the schools have lower costs per graduate than the schools their study counterparts attended.
This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 16 couples who participated in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program. Couples reported benefiting from SHM’s focus on communication and conflict management, but financial needs and lack of social supports placed stress on their relationships throughout their tenure in SHM.