This issue focus discusses the conclusions of a recent MDRC working paper, Project-Based Learning: A Literature Review. The paper found that project-based learning holds promise for improving students’ outcomes but that much remains to be learned about its effectiveness and about how its implementation can be strengthened.
A Literature Review
Examining the scholarly literature published since a seminal review in 2000, this working paper discusses the principles that underlie project-based learning, how it has been used in K-12 settings, the challenges teachers have confronted in implementing it, and what is known about its effectiveness in improving students’ learning outcomes.
Are School Districts Ready to Meet New Federal Goals?
This brief, which draws on data from a large survey of secondary school teachers and principals, discusses how existing evaluation and support systems could be better used to realize the vision of teacher improvement now included in federal law under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
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.
This brief describes how Broward County Public Schools adopted a community of practice approach to help schools implement additional support for students in the ninth grade, a critical juncture for many of them and a long-standing focus of high school reforms and dropout-prevention initiatives.
Teachers’ Voices on Professional Development
Through the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping school districts and networks redesign their professional development systems. This brief — the first in a series — introduces the case study component of MDRC’s evaluation and presents some early findings from interviews with teachers.
Early Reflections from MDRC’s Evaluation of the Innovative Professional Development Challenge
In the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping school districts redesign their teacher professional development systems to better support teachers in increasing student success. This Issue Focus, the second in a series, offers some early reflections from MDRC’s study of it.
In the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping school districts redesign their teacher professional development systems to better support teachers in increasing student success. This Issue Focus introduces the iPD Challenge and presents some early findings from MDRC’s study of it.
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.
This issue brief, published by the National High School Center, highlights lessons from selected policies and programs designed to improve students’ preparation for life after high school.