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.
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.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.
Evidence from Promising Programs
A review of high-quality studies, this paper highlights interventions — in education, employment and training, and second-chance programs — that have demonstrated positive results for young men of color. It comes as policymakers and philanthropies focus new attention on investing more to build opportunities for these young men.
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.
As the demand for high-skilled workers rises and the availability of well-paying jobs for young people declines, making a successful transition to adulthood has become increasingly challenging for disadvantaged youth. MDRC develops and studies programs to help young people who face major barriers in finding a path to stable adult life.
Built on a research review and consultation with youth policy experts, this paper makes the case for developing a menu of approaches for the heterogeneous population of disconnected youth, building knowledge about mature programs (to better understand whether they work, for whom, and why), and creating new programs that address areas of unmet need. This framework may be particularly relevant for the Administration’s newly proposed Youth Innovation Fund.