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.
Testimony of Alexander Mayer, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Education, MDRC, Before the New Jersey State Assembly Higher Education Committee
On May 7, Alex Mayer discussed the challenge of developmental education for low-income college students in New Jersey and nationwide, citing recent innovations and growing evidence about what works to overcome barriers to college success. The strongest programs integrate several strategies, combining opportunity and obligation to address multiple student barriers.
Testimony Before the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance
On February 6, Alex Mayer, MDRC’s Deputy Director of Postsecondary Education, explained to members of two California State Assembly committees that combining and integrating evidence-based strategies to address multiple factors can be highly effective in improving completion rates among low-income college students.
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.
Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Higher Education
In the City University of New York’s innovative program, CUNY’s least prepared students delay matriculation, beginning instead with noncredit, time-intensive instruction aimed at eliminating developmental needs after one semester, preparing participants for college courses, and improving academic outcomes. An independent evaluation will help determine CUNY Start’s effect on academic success.
Comments to the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking
In public comments submitted to the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, MDRC President Gordon Berlin makes the case for putting rigorous evidence at the center of policymaking, improving access to administrative data, protecting confidentiality, bolstering the federal research agencies, addressing process and procurement issues, and maintaining the independence of third-party evaluators.
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.
The Next Steps in Supporting Innovation, Continuous Improvement, and Accountability
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, MDRC President Gordon Berlin provides a brief history of the federal government’s bipartisan investment in evidence building and offers thoughts on next steps for making evidence, including pay-for-success initiatives, a driver of policy change.