Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.
Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) is a data-driven professional support system that helps teachers tailor instruction for each child. When delivered with intensive in-person training, it is effective at improving students’ reading ability. This Issue Focus introduces the evaluation of a delivery model that uses technology to make the system more affordable.
Current Policy, Prominent Programs, and Evidence
This paper reviews the available evidence supporting various types of career and technical education programs, touching on both the amount of evidence available in each area and its level of rigor.
Implementation and Outcome Findings for the AVID Central Florida Collaborative Study
Implemented in eight secondary schools and a local college, this program was designed to build students’ college preparedness by training instructors in shared teaching strategies and best practices, strengthening academic rigor in the classroom, and promoting collaboration and consistency in teaching and study strategies across grades and schools.
The Implementation of High 5s in New York City
Small-group math clubs in kindergarten are an innovative way to align children’s elementary and pre-K math experiences. In a demonstration of the High 5s kindergarten supplement aligned with the principles of an evidence-based, developmentally appropriate pre-K curriculum, attendance and engagement were high, and children participated in hands-on, individualized activities.
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.
Success Academy is a rapidly expanding charter school network in New York City. In this paper, MDRC uses lotteries for the seven Success Academy schools operating during the 2010-2011 school year to estimate the difference in students’ academic achievement caused by Success Academy.
Introducing ExCEL P-3, a Study from the Expanding Children’s Early Learning Network
The ExCEL Network, a collaboration of researchers, preschool providers, and local officials, is exploring how benefits of early childhood interventions persist. The ExCEL P-3 project examines whether one preschool program, reinforced by a system-wide alignment of instruction into elementary school, has impacts on a range of skills through third grade.
A Report from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation
PowerTeaching emphasizes cooperative learning to instruct middle school math and has shown strong evidence of effectiveness. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education funded an effort to scale up the program, and in 2012 MDRC began a multiyear evaluation of it. This report describes the evaluation and presents its findings.
Are School Districts Ready to Meet New Federal Goals?
This brief, which draws on data from a large survey of secondary school teachers and principals, discusses how existing evaluation and support systems could be better used to realize the vision of teacher improvement now included in federal law under the Every Student Succeeds Act.