Curricular/Instructional Reforms

Brief

Building on Strengths Students Have Gained After a Year of Turmoil

July, 2021
Jean Grossman, Nancy Duchesneau

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many students, but many have also grown tremendously from the events they experienced in 2020. This brief discusses service learning as a practice that draws on the skills and community awareness students have developed through the past year, and that also can help them rebound.

Brief

Solutions Through Social and Emotional Well-Being

July, 2021

This is the first in a series of briefs highlighting strategies to increase educational equity by addressing students’ social and emotional needs. It describes how environmental and structural factors cause disparities in social and emotional well-being that affect learning, then lays out three levels of change to address this inequity.

Issue Focus

Lessons from Growth Sector’s STEM Core Program

July, 2021
Oscar Cerna, Marco Lepe, Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow

Millions of community college students, particularly students of color and women, don’t complete the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses critical to succeeding in the modern economy. This brief examines one program that combines increased academic support, out-of-classroom activities, accelerated coursework, and other components to help improve student outcomes.

Issue Focus

A Synthesis of Post-Program Effects in Higher Education

March, 2021

Some education programs’ early positive effects disappear over time, while other programs have unanticipated positive long-term effects. This Issue Focus introduces The Higher Education Randomized Controlled Trials, an examination of program effects after a postsecondary education program ends, using a database drawn from 31 MDRC projects, sampling 67,400 stu­dents.

Working Paper

A Synthesis of Findings on the ASAP Model from Six Colleges Across Two States

February, 2021

This paper presents new estimates of the effects of the City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) model, evaluated first in New York and later in Ohio. It shows long-term effects in New York on degrees earned and consistent effects in both states.

Brief

Opportunities for Investing in Equity

March, 2021

This brief summarizes recent findings that show how a lack of access to high-quality summer programs may contribute to disparities in children’s learning and development during the transition to kindergarten. It identifies future research needed to ensure that equity-focused investments in summer learning pay off for children from underserved groups.

Brief

What Colleges Need to Know About Multiple Measures Assessments

February, 2021

Colleges often use standardized testing to determine whether incoming students need developmental courses. But those tests do not predict students’ college readiness accurately. This brief explains how the use of alternative multiple measures can improve placement decisions, increase college-level course pass rates, and boost progress toward graduation.

Brief
January, 2021
Susan Bickerstaff, Elizabeth Kopko, Erika B. Lewy, Julia Raufman, Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow

This brief from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, a project of the Community College Research Center and MDRC, presents four case studies on how community college state systems changed course placement policies and supported new placement practices in the midst of the pandemic.

Issue Focus
November, 2020
Alexander Mayer, Kate Tromble

A college degree remains critical to unlocking opportunity and to accessing America’s middle class, yet millions of students who pursue higher education never earn degrees. This memo, produced with Results for America, draws lessons and policy implications from two decades of rigorous research in postsecondary institutions focused on addressing this problem.

Report

Early Implementation Findings from a Study of the Male Student Success Initiative

November, 2020

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.

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