In 2020, MDRC staff members authored or coauthored five commentaries — for Governing, Government Executive, Route Fifty, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity — on how evidence can help policymakers and practitioners respond to the pandemic.
When COVID-19 upended normal operations at STRIVE, a workforce development nonprofit founded in New York, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science at MDRC documented the agency’s real-time innovations that allowed it to continue serving clients during the crisis. Greg Wise, STRIVE’s National Vice President, shared a first-hand account of the transition.
This Issue Focus highlights MDRC’s efforts to incorporate principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the content of our work and how we conduct it, providing examples of current and ongoing initiatives to advance those goals.
Barriers to Student Success and Opportunities for Improvement
Working with the City University of New York, MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science mapped factors that impede students transferring from community colleges. This blueprint shows the stages of the transfer process, with information about challenges at each stage and interventions informed by behavioral science that could help overcome them.
What Several Months of COVID-19 Revealed in the Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) Demonstration
The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) project integrates procedural justice (the idea of fairness in processes) into enforcement at six child support agencies. This brief describes the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on PJAC project agencies and parents during the spring and summer of 2020, and examines agencies’ responses.
Findings and Lessons from Three Colleges’ Efforts to Build on the iPASS Initiative
The iPASS initiative aims to helps colleges use technology-based advising practices to improve students’ academic performance and college completion rates. This report describes how three schools used enhanced iPASS services in an effort to strengthen and reform their existing advising practices, including the standard version of iPASS.
Research-Based Advice for Community College Administrators
Two decades of MDRC research shows that a holistic counseling strategy that reduces adviser caseloads and offers students more frequent, comprehensive guidance can help them address both academic and personal issues and improve college outcomes. This paper provides lessons for higher education professionals interested in implementing this approach.
Lessons from Two Decades of Research and Technical Assistance
Colleges support students with academic and other types of advising, counseling, or coaching. Some schools enhance those services by reducing adviser caseloads and providing more comprehensive, frequent guidance, which can improve students’ semester-to-semester retention and average credits earned. This brief describes important lessons on designing and implementing those services.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, early care and education providers faced challenges attracting and retaining qualified, well-trained, and diverse early educators — and staff turnover can affect children’s early progress. Three approaches may help improve these workers’ access to professional education, their overall economic well-being, and their sometimes difficult working conditions.
Early Implementation Findings from a Study of the Male Student Success Initiative
Men of color complete college at lower rates than their fellow students. To help overcome this gap, many colleges have programs offering academic and social support to male students of color. This report summarizes MDRC’s evaluation of one such program at the Community College of Baltimore County.