In this commentary, which originally appeared in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, MDRC’s Alex Mayer and Alyssa Ratledge describe evidence-backed strategies that colleges can employ this fall to help students stay engaged.
Adapting the Evidence for 2020 and Beyond
MDRC has studied a number of strategies for helping students stay in college and succeed there. Lessons from some of these models may be readily adapted to support students and close equity gaps now and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This Issue Focus offers three lessons taken from MDRC’s evaluations.
Interim Implementation and Impact Findings from New York City’s P-TECH 9-14 Schools
This report evaluates a program focused on preparing students for college and career. Based on partnerships among high schools, community colleges, and employers, the program offers accelerated high school course work, early college, and work-based learning experiences. The findings suggest that students are meeting the benchmarks they need to succeed.
Toward Better College Completion Rates
MDRC has developed a body of rigorous evidence on interventions designed to help low-income college students succeed. This issue brief draws six lessons from that work for colleges and policymakers as they seek to improve college completion rates.
Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.
A Study of a Transition Program Serving Students with Low Math Skills at a Community College
A four-week course to prepare students for developmental-level math did not attract many students who were referred to it. While some participants gained needed skills, most did not complete the course or move on to developmental math, and communication about the course among staff, faculty, advisors, and students was inconsistent.
Three-Year Results from the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) Ohio Demonstration
This report presents findings through three years from a replication of the City University of New York Accelerated Study in Associate Programs model at three community colleges in Ohio. The Ohio programs nearly doubled degree receipt through three years and led to an increase in transfers to four-year colleges.
Findings from a National Survey and Interviews with Postsecondary Institutions
This report, based on a national survey of two- and four-year colleges, examines the current state of practices in developmental education assessment, placement, instruction, and support services offered to students. Reform efforts have accelerated, but new practices still reach less than half of students.
Findings from the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Impact Study
This instructional reform diversifies math course content so that it better aligns with students’ career interests. After three semesters, the reform increased developmental math students’ rates of taking and passing college-level math and accumulating math credits. Few effects have yet emerged on overall credit accumulation, degree receipt, or transfer to a four-year college.
Boot Camp at Tarrant County College
This study examined a “Boot Camp” program designed to reinforce basic mathematics functions for college students with limited math, reading, and writing skills, to prepare them for developmental-level courses. Three features made the program unique: computer-assisted, self-paced learning; a focus on individual learner progress; and in-class help from College-Readiness Advisors.