This report, a Public/Private Ventures project distributed by MDRC, summarizes findings from a four-year random assignment study of an out-of-school-time program for middle-schoolers. Students in the program did better on standardized tests and were more likely to attend private high schools.
Lessons for Practitioners
Too many low-income, college-ready students enroll in colleges for which they are academically overqualified or don’t go to college at all. This brief offers five strategies from MDRC’s College Match Program in Chicago for practitioners interested in helping high school students make the best college match possible.
The Continuing Story of the Opportunity NYC−Family Rewards Demonstration
Family Rewards, a three-year demonstration, provided cash payments to low-income families in New York City for achieving specific health, education, and employment goals. New results show that the program substantially reduced poverty and material hardship while it operated and had positive results in improving some education, health, and work-related outcomes.
Using Volunteers to Improve the Academic Outcomes of Underserved Students
School-based mentoring programs have been shown to improve students’ academic performance and self-confidence. This study examines what makes the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America school-based mentoring program effective, offering key insights for practitioners. It also contributes a theoretical structure with which to assess other randomized evaluations of such programs.
New Findings About the Effectiveness and Operation of Small Public High Schools of Choice in New York City
New data from a rigorous study confirm that New York City’s small public high schools, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, have substantially improved rates of graduation with Regents diplomas. This report also describes what principals and teachers at these schools believe accounts for their success.
MDRC is learning what programs work best to prevent at-risk youth from getting in trouble, help juvenile offenders turn their lives around, and give reentering prisoners the chance to get a foothold in the labor market and reduce their chances of rearrest.
Many students lose their way academically in ninth grade, never recover, and never graduate high school. Ninth Grade Academies aim to ease the transition into high school by creating smaller learning communities for ninth-graders. This report evaluates one urban school district’s effort to implement this complex reform districtwide.
Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults
This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.
Preliminary Implementation Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation
SaveUSA, a pilot program in New York City, Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa, offers a matched savings account to low-income tax filers, building on the opportunity presented by tax-time refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. This 12-page brief offers early implementation findings.
Urban high schools are in trouble — high dropout rates, low student achievement, and graduates who are unprepared for the world of work are just some of the disappointing indicators. However, this policy memo, part of our “Looking Forward” series, explains how recent research has uncovered a number of approaches to improving student outcomes and reforming underperforming schools.