This document compares two approaches to improving community college outcomes — CUNY ASAP, a specific program model, and guided pathways, a framework for institutional reform — and discusses how they might be integrated to improve structure, coherence, and support for students.
Promising Approaches and Next Steps
A significant gap in the rates of college degree attainment persists between men of color and their white counterparts. This brief catalogues strategies commonly used in interventions at postsecondary educational institutions aimed at improving outcomes for male students of color and charts the way forward for future evaluative work.
A Randomized Controlled Trial
A randomized controlled trial conducted by REL West and MDRC finds that counseling and text-messaging “nudges” boosted the proportion of community college students who completed academic plans by 20 percentage points.
The Change Capital Fund donor consortium invests in community groups to help expand their capacity to coordinate services in areas of persistent poverty. Using a variety of models, grantees are strengthening internal and external connections to meet the housing, education, and employment needs of local residents.
Early Findings from a Demonstration in Three Community Colleges
CUNY ASAP has proved exceptionally effective at increasing community college graduation rates. This demonstration tests the viability and effects of programs modeled on ASAP in different types of colleges, including those serving many nontraditional students. Early findings show increases in full-time enrollment, credits earned, and persistence into the second semester.
An Evaluation of SEED DC
The nation’s first public, urban, college-prep boarding school emphasizes academic excellence and personal development. A six-year evaluation using SEED’s admission lotteries found that SEED DC raised lottery winners’ test scores but did not increase the on-time graduation rate or reduce teen pregnancy or involvement in the criminal justice system.
Interim Impact Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation of Diplomas Now
The Diplomas Now whole-school reform model, including targeted interventions for students at risk of dropping out, had an impact on the percentage of students with no early warning indicators related to attendance, behavior, or course performance, and had more encouraging results in middle schools than high schools.
Breaking Down Silos to Promote Economic Opportunity
The Change Capital Fund, a partnership of donors, invests in community groups to develop their capacity to coordinate services to meet the multiple needs of low-income families. As these groups work to overcome their tendency to specialize internally, their programs must be open to new ways of aligning their efforts.
A Preview of a CUNY Start Evaluation
This innovative developmental education program at the City University of New York offers intensive academic instruction and advising to CUNY’s least prepared community college students before they matriculate. The evaluation will examine the program’s effect on academic outcomes among students with very low levels of basic skills.
Research Directions on Low-Income Neighborhoods and Fostering Economic Mobility
A growing body of evidence suggests that neighborhoods matter for low-income people’s life trajectories. This brief summarizes major recent findings on poverty and place, describes how MDRC is building a body of evidence to inform place-based strategies to address poverty, and suggests some future directions for the field.