In a randomized controlled trial, measuring treatment contrast – the difference in services received by a program group and those in a counterfactual condition – is critical for understanding what a program’s effects suggest about the best ways to improve services. This paper explains why treatment contrast is important and offers guidance about how to measure it.
Findings from the Changing Attitudes and Motivation in Parolees Pilot Study
A training program for parole officers in Dallas, Denver, and Des Moines sought to address the persistently high recidivism rates among individuals leaving prison. This study’s results show that officers generally already knew many of the curriculum’s concepts, and changes to their practices were limited.
A two-stage study design can test a complex set of interventions, individually and in combination. Reflections on Methodology shows how this approach was used for a pair of programs, the first administered in preschools and the second implemented as a kindergarten follow-up for individual students.
Many Promise programs — which help local students afford to enroll in college — are looking to add new forms of support to help students address their barriers to college success, but worry about the cost of these new components. MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative’s Cost Calculator prices out various program designs.
Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families (BEES) project will evaluate the effectiveness of innovative programs designed to boost employment and earnings among low-income Americans. The goal of the project is to strengthen ACF’s understanding of evidence-supported programs that are effective in improving employment and economic security.
By studying the implementation of an initiative to improve college readiness in rural schools, researchers were able to identify obstacles and help program leaders improve the process. The Implementation Research Incubator explains.
Testimony of Alexander Mayer, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Education, MDRC, Before the New Jersey State Assembly Higher Education Committee
On May 7, Alex Mayer discussed the challenge of developmental education for low-income college students in New Jersey and nationwide, citing recent innovations and growing evidence about what works to overcome barriers to college success. The strongest programs integrate several strategies, combining opportunity and obligation to address multiple student barriers.
Where Are They Now?
Many young scholars supported by the Gueron Fund Minority Scholars Program have enriched our organization by participating in fellowships and internships at MDRC over the last 10+ years. And they have gone on to do wonderful things in a variety of places (including coming back to work at MDRC!).
The Detroit Promise Path
A student success program for Detroit Promise scholarship recipients combines coaching, a monthly incentive, summer outreach to keep students engaged, and a management information system used to communicate with students and track their progress. This Issue Focus provides more detail about the program model and shares early implementation lessons.
Challenges and Opportunities in Summer Programs for Rising Kindergarten Students
One focus of the Expanding Children’s Early Learning (ExCEL) Network is the potential value of programs to promote school readiness in the months preceding kindergarten. This brief summarizes lessons learned from a six-week pilot program and consultation with practitioners on three implementation issues — recruitment, attendance, and family involvement.