To improve outcomes among high-interest borrowers, policymakers need to understand what is driving usage. This second post in MDRC’s Reflections on Methodology series discusses how a data discovery process revealed clusters of borrowers who differed greatly in the kinds of loans and lenders they used and in their loan outcomes.
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.
A Primer for Researchers Working with Education Data
Predictive modeling estimates individuals’ probabilities of future outcomes by building and testing a model using data on similar individuals whose outcomes are already known. The method offers benefits for continuous improvement efforts and efficient allocation of resources. This paper explains MDRC’s framework for using predictive modeling in education.
The city’s small, academically nonselective high schools have substantially improved graduation rates for disadvantaged students. This report demonstrates that, because more of their students graduate and do so within four years, the schools have lower costs per graduate than the schools their study counterparts attended.
This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 16 couples who participated in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program. Couples reported benefiting from SHM’s focus on communication and conflict management, but financial needs and lack of social supports placed stress on their relationships throughout their tenure in SHM.
Using Volunteers to Improve the Academic Outcomes of Underserved Students
School-based mentoring programs have been shown to improve students’ academic performance and self-confidence. This study examines what makes the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America school-based mentoring program effective, offering key insights for practitioners. It also contributes a theoretical structure with which to assess other randomized evaluations of such programs.
An Analysis of the Interaction among Quality-of-Life Indicators from the New Communities Program Evaluation
This paper explores analytic methods that assess the rate at which changes in neighborhood quality of life occur. It looks at correlations among quality indicators over time and the effect of both neighborhood context and conditions beyond the neighborhood, like the Great Recession, identifying which indicators are predictors of others.
An Empirical Assessment Based on Four Recent Evaluations
This reference report, prepared for the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), uses data from four recent IES-funded experimental design studies that measured student achievement using both state tests and a study-administered test.
What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?
This working paper, prepared for a conference sponsored by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reviews evidence about the effectiveness of two strategies to strengthen family relationships and fathers’ involvement with their children: fatherhood programs aimed at disadvantaged noncustodial fathers and relationship skills programs for parents who are together.
Time Use Estimates for Economically Disadvantaged and Nondisadvantaged Married Couples in the United States
Contrary to some expectations, economically disadvantaged couples spend slightly more time together than nondisadvantaged ones, and more of that time is spent in leisure activities, according to this paper from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Project. While these couples may face different barriers to participating in voluntary programs than higher-income couples, their “time crunch” appears to be no worse.