Academic language skills are critical for reading and understanding content for all students, and particularly for English learners and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This study investigated WordGen Elementary, a program designed to improve fourth- and fifth-grade students’ ability to understand and communicate academic language and their general reading skill.
Impacts on Elementary School Students’ Outcomes
Disruptive behaviors in school can hinder students’ learning and long-term success. This study evaluated a “multi-tiered systems of support for behavior” program, which reinforces good behavior and provides supplemental support to students in need. Overall student outcomes did not improve but students who struggled the most saw some short-term benefits.
Higher Achievement, which serves fifth- through eighth-graders, is an effective after-school and summer program that improved middle school students’ math and reading test scores and the academic quality of many students’ high schools. These short-term gains did not translate into impacts on the types of colleges that students attended.
Assessing Higher Achievement’s Out-of-School Expansion Efforts
The intensive program for middle school students was successfully replicated in three new cities, significantly improving grades after two years. The findings suggest that Higher Achievement could be a model nationwide to help close the learning gap between children born into poverty and their middle-class peers.
Results from the Evaluation of PACE Center for Girls
PACE provides academic and extensive social services in a gender-responsive environment to girls at risk of juvenile justice system involvement. Over a one-year period, PACE increased school enrollment and attendance, as well as girls’ likelihood of being “on track” academically.
The Implementation of High 5s in New York City
Small-group math clubs in kindergarten are an innovative way to align children’s elementary and pre-K math experiences. In a demonstration of the High 5s kindergarten supplement aligned with the principles of an evidence-based, developmentally appropriate pre-K curriculum, attendance and engagement were high, and children participated in hands-on, individualized activities.
An Implementation Study of the PACE Center for Girls
To serve at-risk girls, PACE provides academic and social services in a gender-responsive environment, focusing on safety, relationships, and girls’ individual strengths while accounting for the effects of trauma. The program offers low staff-to-student ratios, counseling and case management, and a life skills curriculum targeted to girls.
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.
Interim Impact Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation of Diplomas Now
The Diplomas Now whole-school reform model, including targeted interventions for students at risk of dropping out, had an impact on the percentage of students with no early warning indicators related to attendance, behavior, or course performance, and had more encouraging results in middle schools than high schools.
A Guide to Social Impact Bond Investing
MDRC President Gordon Berlin draws lessons from MDRC’s implementation of the first social impact bond (SIB) project in the United States, providing valuable insights into the inner workings of SIB deals and explaining the challenges and the potential of this impact investing model.