MDRC is examining programs to help struggling students through “catch-up” classes, tutoring and mentoring, supplementary literacy classes, classes designed to counteract instructional deficits, and case management and “high-intensity” supports for children with the greatest challenges.

The Latest
Issue Focus

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.

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This program 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. A three-year evaluation shows that the program helped students stay enrolled in school and earn more credits, but had no impact on degrees earned.

Key Documents
Report

Three-Year Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Evaluation

After three years, participants in National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, an intensive, “quasi-military” residential program for high school dropouts, are more likely than their control group counterparts to have obtained a GED or high school diploma, to have earned college credits, and to be working. Their earnings are also 20 percent higher.

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Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model

Talent Development, a high school reform initiative, produced substantial positive effects on attendance, academic course credits earned, tenth-grade promotion, and algebra pass rates for students in very low-performing schools in Philadelphia.

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Examples, Evidence, and Prospects

High school reform is increasingly focused on the role of career-technical education (CTE) in preparing all students for success in both college and career. Instead of stand-alone vocational courses, programs that merge CTE, rigorous academics, and career exploration are gaining momentum, but schools need resources and training to implement them.