Many community colleges have implemented interventions to help students persist in college and earn degrees. MDRC has studied many such interventions; several of them improved students’ academic outcomes, but the effects varied. This report synthesizes results from 30 studies MDRC has conducted of 39 interventions at 45 colleges.
A Study of Achieving the Dream in Florida
Implementing institutional change is challenging. Achieving the Dream (ATD) provides expert guidance to promote positive change, close achievement gaps, and accelerate student success at community colleges, particularly among students of color and from low-income backgrounds. This brief summarizes the common drivers of institution-wide reforms at nine ATD colleges in Florida.
This paper, originally published in Evaluation Review, provides researchers with new information about the values of the key design parameters needed for planning randomized controlled trial evaluations of interventions in community colleges.
In this commentary originally published in the Albany Times-Union, Rachel Rosen makes the case that New York State should build on its investment in P-TECH 9-14 schools to help young people launch careers in the growing green-energy economy.
A review of impact and implementation studies from the past 10 years, this report summarizes what is known about how innovations in developmental education (that is, remedial college courses) can improve student outcomes. It also identifies five principles that are essential to successful reforms.
“Soft skills” are the capabilities and habits that affect communication, social interactions, and problem-solving. Credentials in soft skills aim to show employers that job applicants are proficient in these skills. MDRC interviewed employers to gauge how they perceive these credentials and to learn what could increase their utility and credibility.
The New World of Work (NWoW), a program that promoted teaching soft skills—the capabilities and habits that affect communication, social interactions, and problem-solving—operated briefly in over 75 community colleges in California. This brief describes statistical analyses of assessments NWoW used to grant credentials in those soft skills.
Lessons from the New World of Work
Increasingly, companies are favoring skill-based requirements—such as communication and writing—in job postings. In response, postsecondary educators are looking for ways to teach these “soft skills” explicitly. This brief outlines practical considerations and recommendations for developing and implementing soft-skills instruction in a postsecondary setting.
A Brief Synthesis of 20 Years of MDRC’s Randomized Controlled Trials
What works to help community college students progress academically? This brief synthesizes 20 years of rigorous research by MDRC, presenting new evidence about key attributes of community college interventions that are positively related to larger impacts on students’ academic progress.
An Exploratory Study of Student Outcomes and Placement Practices
Informed self-placement (ISP) helps college students determine whether they are ready for entry-level college courses or need remedial education first. This brief explores the potential of ISP to improve students’ access to college-level courses and gives colleges an opportunity to consider placement-method changes that may boost student success.