Studying implementation is a multidisciplinary exercise requiring careful planning and coordination. This post, the first of several from the Implementation Research Incubator describing the processes and procedures of MDRC’s work, shows how a wide array of staff members contribute to the effort.
A key to interpreting study findings is considering not just the features of a program being tested, but how it differs from business as usual — which may change over the course of the evaluation. The Implementation Research Incubator discusses guidelines for measuring this contrast.
The Experience of a New Program for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
STRIVE International engaged MDRC to help the organization improve a new program model aimed at increasing educational attainment and employment of young adults involved in the juvenile justice system. This Issue Focus describes the partnership and offers advice to organizations implementing new programs on how to build evidence of effectiveness.
Where Are They Now?
Many young scholars supported by the Gueron Fund Minority Scholars Program have enriched our organization by participating in fellowships and internships at MDRC over the last 10+ years. And they have gone on to do wonderful things in a variety of places (including coming back to work at MDRC!).
The Detroit Promise Path
A student success program for Detroit Promise scholarship recipients combines coaching, a monthly incentive, summer outreach to keep students engaged, and a management information system used to communicate with students and track their progress. This Issue Focus provides more detail about the program model and shares early implementation lessons.
Many Promise programs — which help local students afford to enroll in college — are looking to add new forms of support to help students address their barriers to college success, but worry about the cost of these new components. MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative’s Cost Calculator prices out various program designs.
By studying the implementation of an initiative to improve college readiness in rural schools, researchers were able to identify obstacles and help program leaders improve the process. The Implementation Research Incubator explains.
Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families (BEES) project will evaluate the effectiveness of innovative programs designed to boost employment and earnings among low-income Americans. The goal of the project is to strengthen ACF’s understanding of evidence-supported programs that are effective in improving employment and economic security.
Career pathways programs, which equip high school students with the academic, technical, and “soft” skills they need to succeed, can also help meet local employer demand for skilled workers. This issue focus introduces one such initiative that uses paid internships to help students gain a foothold in a high-wage industry.
The Implementation Research Incubator discusses an innovative approach to pre-K math, in which the researchers used qualitative methods to put the critical elements of a program’s theory of change under a microscope. Their insights may help future adopters of the model better understand these key components.