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.
Exploring the Experiences of Students Ages 25 and Older
The SUCCESS project aims to improve college completion rates for traditionally underserved students at community and broad-access colleges. This brief highlights the experiences of students 25 years or older in four SUCCESS colleges. The findings suggest how programmatic and institutional structures may promote or hamper student success for this population.
Design Parameters for Planning the Sample Size of Individual-Level Randomized Controlled Trials in Community Colleges
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.
The Detroit Promise Path combines a tuition-free scholarship with additional forms of support, such as a campus coach and personalized communications, to keep students on track to graduate. After four years, the program helped students stay enrolled in school but had no impact on degrees earned.
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.
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.
Practices, Justifications, Outcomes, and Limitations
Many colleges are exploring alternative assessment models, such as informed self-placement (ISP), to increase student enrollment and success in entry-level college courses and to identify students who would benefit from developmental (remedial) instruction. This literature review provides a discussion of the methods used to implement ISP and justifications for its use.
Participating in a College Support Program During the Pandemic and Beyond
This issue focus shares early implementation lessons from an evaluation of MDRC’s Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the program model. It offers lessons that could be relevant to similar programs operating in online, in-person, and hybrid environments.
Early Lessons from SUCCESS
MDRC’s Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) aims to help more low-income students and students of color graduate by combining proven components into an integrated three-year program. This brief describes the model, the study, and adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers some early findings.