Observation tools allow researchers to rate practitioners’ use of a program or curriculum according to the time spent on its components and how they were implemented. Reflections on Methodology explains how researchers and model developers can collaborate to develop useful assessment tools and the benefits and challenges involved.
A Case Study of Lorain County Community College’s Comprehensive Student Success Program
In 2014, Lorain County Community College launched Students Accelerating in Learning (SAIL), a comprehensive student success program that is substantially improving persistence and graduation rates among low-income students. This brief describes the steps Lorain took to fund and institutionalize SAIL that are now making it easier to sustain the program.
Two-Year Findings from the ASAP Ohio Demonstration
The highly successful Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), developed by the City University of New York, has been shown to nearly double graduation rates after three years. This brief presents results after two years from a replication of ASAP at three community colleges in Ohio.
The new book Randomistas describes how randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have revolutionized many fields. RCTs are a uniquely powerful tool, but they are not the only way to build knowledge about effective programs for low-income people.
Findings from Three New Studies of Youth Employment Programs
Over four million young people in the United States are “disconnected,” meaning they are not in school and are not working. In the past few months, studies of three programs aimed at such young people have released new findings. This brief discusses these findings and their implications.
Findings from the Subprime Lending Data Exploration Project
Medical debt was a main theme emerging from a survey and interviews with individuals who use payday or subprime installment loans. Many respondents reported using such loans to pay medical bills or to cover regular expenses that may have originated from a health-related emergency.
By combining prior beliefs about a program’s effectiveness with new data to produce a distribution of impacts, Bayesian statistics provides an alternative to classical methods that may be more useful for policymaking. Reflections on Methodology discusses some issues with and applications of this approach.
Interim Findings on Developmental Students’ Progress to College Math with the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways
This community college reform directs remedial math students into accelerated course sequences focused on statistics or quantitative reasoning, depending on their programs of study. In a random assignment evaluation, students in the pathways group are enrolling in and passing college-level math at a higher rate than students in traditional courses.
Developing a Smartphone Application with Fathers, for Fathers
Fathers in Responsible Fatherhood programs can face numerous barriers to remaining involved with their children. This brief describes how MDRC collaborated with fathers to develop DadTime, one of the first smartphone applications designed specifically to help fathers improve their engagement with and attendance at parenting programs.
In the second of two posts on the research opportunities presented by school choice systems, Reflections on Methodology discusses a few issues common to lottery-based analyses — constrained statistical power, imperfect compliance, and restricted generalizability.