Students learn or progress at their own paces. How can schools make sure that they get the help they need — and only the help they need? Many are turning to multi-tiered systems of support. This brief provides some practical considerations for schools contemplating tiered approaches.
Lessons from MDRC Evaluations
More and more schools are using multi-tiered systems of support to deliver students the right amount of help when they need it. MDRC has evaluated several such systems — eight, in fact. This brief summarizes some lessons about tiered systems of support drawn from those evaluations.
Findings from Family Rewards 2.0
A program in Memphis and the Bronx offered cash incentives, coupled with family guidance, to poor families for meeting certain health care, education, and work milestones. The program increased income and reduced poverty, increased dental visits and health status, reduced employment somewhat, and had few effects on students’ education.
A Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities
This program spent a little over a dollar to transfer one dollar in cash rewards to families who met the required benchmarks. These rewards produced positive effects on some outcomes, but left others unchanged. While the program benefited participating families, the cost to taxpayers exceeded the economic value of these effects.
What Worked, What Didn’t
Family Rewards offered cash incentives to low-income families to reduce both current and longer-term poverty, contingent on families’ efforts to build up their “human capital” through children’s education, preventive health care, and parents’ employment. While the program produced some positive effects on some outcomes, it left many outcomes unchanged.
Findings from the Extended-Service Schools Initiative
Launched in 1997, the Extended-Service Schools (ESS) Initiative helped establish after-school programs in 17 communities across the country, each of which adapted one of four program models to local circumstances and needs.