In this commentary originally published in Government Executive, MDRC Senior Vice President Dan Bloom argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that it’s important for decisionmakers to make bold policy reforms and to build evidence for future action at the same time.
A college degree remains critical to unlocking opportunity and to accessing America’s middle class, yet millions of students who pursue higher education never earn degrees. This memo, produced with Results for America, draws lessons and policy implications from two decades of rigorous research in postsecondary institutions focused on addressing this problem.
Early Implementation Findings from a Study of the Male Student Success Initiative
Men of color complete college at lower rates than their fellow students. To help overcome this gap, many colleges have programs offering academic and social support to male students of color. This report summarizes MDRC’s evaluation of one such program at the Community College of Baltimore County.
Insights from MDRC’s 2020 Gueron Scholars Program
Can hands-on internships be successfully converted into all-virtual programs in the age of COVID-19? Here are some lessons that MDRC learned when it decided to transform its summer internship into a virtual learning opportunity, plus tips for organizations considering such an approach.
Lessons from Two Decades of Research and Technical Assistance
Colleges support students with academic and other types of advising, counseling, or coaching. Some schools enhance those services by reducing adviser caseloads and providing more comprehensive, frequent guidance, which can improve students’ semester-to-semester retention and average credits earned. This brief describes important lessons on designing and implementing those services.
Meeting the Needs of Workers and Employers
Low-wage workers have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing greater levels of unemployment than their higher-wage-earning peers. Training programs that focus on moving workers into skilled jobs in industries with strong local demand could reposition them for 21st-century success.
Final Lessons from the EASE Project
This report presents findings from Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment, which used behavioral insights in two informational campaigns, with and without tuition assistance, to encourage community college students to take summer classes. Both interventions increased enrollment and had a modest impact on credits earned and positive return on investment for colleges.
Process maps are “human-centered” tools social services organizations can use to improve their service delivery by breaking down complex problems and addressing them collaboratively. See how the Los Angeles Community College District improved its Los Angeles College Promise program by bringing students into the making of its process maps.
More children spend time in preschool now than a decade ago, but not all of them get educational programs of the same quality. This brief explores how to put new classroom curricula in place across multiple schools to bolster classroom quality, instructional practices, and children’s skills.
Career and Technical Education Connects the Dots
The economic recession triggered by the global pandemic has magnified the need for high-quality programs that can help students acquire the skills, training, and postsecondary credentials they need to thrive in the workplace. Here are some programs that studies show improved academic outcomes and increased earnings.