Founded in 1974, MDRC is committed to improving the lives of people with low incomes. We design promising new interventions, evaluate existing programs, and provide technical assistance to build better programs.
MDRC develops evidence about solutions to some of the nation’s most difficult problems. Explore our projects and variety of products, including publications, videos, podcast episodes, and resources for researchers and practitioners.
Full Findings from the Pretrial Justice Collaborative
In place of bail, many jurisdictions are instead releasing people awaiting trial with varying levels of supervision in an effort to ensure that they appear in court and avoid new arrests. The analyses described in this report from two jurisdictions found that lower-intensity supervision was as effective as higher-intensity supervision.
MDRC Senior Vice President Dan Bloom reviews what MDRC’s evaluations of welfare-to-work programs say—and don’t say—about the effectiveness of work requirements and discusses the applicability of these findings to other public benefits programs.
How a Pilot Program Targeting Ninth-Graders Led to Shifting Sessions from Weekends and Evenings to Regular School Hours
A New Mexico Public Education Department program offering virtual, high-dosage tutoring sessions was aimed at reaching many more students across this large, rural state. Enrollment rates were lower than hoped for, however, especially among rural students, who had concerns about work and family commitments, internet connectivity, and other issues.
Full Findings from the Pretrial Justice Collaborative
Many jurisdictions use electronic monitoring (electronic devices that monitor people’s locations) and sobriety monitoring (drug and alcohol testing) as alternatives to pretrial detention. The analyses described in this report from four jurisdictions found that neither form of monitoring improves court appearance rates or the avoidance of new arrests.
A Framework for School Improvement and a Review of the Evidence
This report reviews 13 evaluations of comprehensive high school reform efforts, identifies the features of the models evaluated, and categorizes them to create a reform framework that can be generally applied. It also compiles information on prevalent features of reform models that have proven promising for improving student outcomes.
This issue focus traces the 25-year history of the Urban Assembly, an independent nonprofit that provides support services to public high schools in New York City. MDRC is conducting a study of Urban Assembly’s school support model.
Many early elementary-grade students do not achieve literacy proficiency because they do not receive effective personalized literacy instruction. The Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) Professional Support System helps teachers use differentiated small-group instruction to address that need. This study examined two models’ effectiveness in implementing A2i and improving student literacy in schools nationwide.
In this blog post published by the National College Attainment Network, MDRC’s Colin Hill describes the findings from MDRC’s recent evaluation of the City University of New York’s ASAP student success program at three Ohio community colleges.
This brief compares models used to predict participants’ success in career pathways programs. While complex models may be more accurate, they may also come with increased costs and racial biases. The study team explores these trade-offs.
Final Report on the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) Study
This report summarizes activities in a study designed to build evidence on promising strategies to improve enrollment and participation in fatherhood programs. Programs iteratively implemented and assessed such strategies in three areas: outreach, peer mentoring, and coaching.
In 2014, HUD expanded Jobs Plus, a rigorously tested model offering rent incentives and on-site work support to public housing residents. The first three groups to enroll show no evidence of higher employment or earnings during the early years, potentially due to low participation levels and implementation challenges.
Generation Work aims to help more young people—particularly those of color from low-income families—succeed in today’s job market. This Issue Focus highlights promising strategies that the five partnerships implementing the initiative have pursued to foster awareness of racial equity and inclusion among their staff and change organizational practices.
Evidence from Acelero Learning Head Start Programs
There is a lack of consistent evidence on the extent to which the pandemic affected preschool-age children. This brief summarizes the initial results from a study led by MDRC that is examining the post-pandemic language, literacy, math, and executive functioning skills of children enrolled in Acelero Learning programs.
In this commentary originally published in Route Fifty, Mervett Hefyan and Meghan McCormick discuss three ways states can strengthen home visiting services to address the effects of the pandemic on young children and to boost parental health as well.
How Fatherhood Programs Used Learning Cycles in Efforts to Improve Participation Outcomes
In rapid learning cycles, programs try a new approach, see how well it works, make modifications to strengthen it, and then try it again. This brief illustrates how 10 fatherhood programs used learning cycles to evaluate one of three promising approaches to engaging men in their services.
The Jobs Plus demonstration aimed to increase economic empowerment and mobility for public housing residents through on-site employment services, rent-based work incentives, and supportive work activities. Sites that fully implemented the model saw long-term positive employment and earnings effects, but negative effects were observed in sites that did not.
Unemployment among young people is well above the national average. Among Black young adults, it is even higher. Generation Work aims to address this inequity by improving how local workforce development systems serve this population. This report examines the first five years of the initiative in five cities.
A Study of College Transition Text-Based Messaging
Many underserved groups face barriers to college enrollment. This study evaluated a program that supplemented federal supports for these groups through text messages about securing financial aid, completing college enrollment, and navigating other barriers. The study found that adding the messaging program did not increase rates of college enrollment.
Create Wellness Communities and Schedule Staff Celebrations to Boost Morale and Well-Being
Many program managers are integrating self-care into their management strategies to address work-related stress. This post offers two group activities that managers can use to boost staff morale and promote well-being: wellness communities and monthly staff celebrations.
In a blog post originally published by New America, Meghan McCormick and Christina Weiland offer four lessons for states and localities interested in improving children’s access to high-quality public prekindergarten programs.