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.
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.
The Effect of Ninth Grade Academies on Students’ Academic and Behavioral Outcomes
A Ninth Grade Academy is a self-contained learning community within a high school that aims to create a more personalized environment for freshmen. The model has shown promise in the context of whole-school reform, but successful implementation is challenging. The academies studied did not improve students’ academic or behavioral outcomes.
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.
Interim Findings from an Evaluation of a Computer-Assisted, Modular Approach to Developmental Math
ModMath is a set of computer-assisted, modular courses that allow developmental (remedial) math students in community college to earn credits incrementally and move through the curriculum at their own pace. It was well implemented, and after one semester its students were closer to completing developmental math than a control group.
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.
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.
The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states greater responsibility for choosing strategies to improve underperforming schools. For over a decade, MDRC has rigorously evaluated school improvement strategies, collecting evidence that can help states determine which strategies are likely to work. This Issue Focus describes four of MDRC’s most recent studies.