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.
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.
Current Policy, Prominent Programs, and Evidence
This paper reviews the available evidence supporting various types of career and technical education programs, touching on both the amount of evidence available in each area and its level of rigor.
Testimony of Alexander Mayer, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Education, MDRC, Before the New Jersey State Assembly Higher Education Committee
On May 7, Alex Mayer discussed the challenge of developmental education for low-income college students in New Jersey and nationwide, citing recent innovations and growing evidence about what works to overcome barriers to college success. The strongest programs integrate several strategies, combining opportunity and obligation to address multiple student barriers.
Testimony Before the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance
On February 6, Alex Mayer, MDRC’s Deputy Director of Postsecondary Education, explained to members of two California State Assembly committees that combining and integrating evidence-based strategies to address multiple factors can be highly effective in improving completion rates among low-income college students.
An Evaluation of an Effort to Help Nonprofits Manage Their Finances
Nonprofit organizations, which deliver many of the social services Americans receive, often face financial management challenges that affect the quality of their services. This report examines how 25 Chicago-based organizations responded over a four-year period to an initiative designed to improve their ability to address those financial challenges.
Lessons from the First Round of Achieving the Dream Community Colleges
Launched in 2004, Achieving the Dream is designed to help community colleges collect and analyze student performance data and apply the results to help students succeed. This report offers lessons from the first 26 colleges to join the national initiative, which now includes more than 200 institutions.
Urban high schools are in trouble — high dropout rates, low student achievement, and graduates who are unprepared for the world of work are just some of the disappointing indicators. However, this policy memo, part of our “Looking Forward” series, explains how recent research has uncovered a number of approaches to improving student outcomes and reforming underperforming schools.
An Evaluation of Achieving the Dream in Washington State
In 2006, six community and technical colleges in Washington State joined the innovative Achieving the Dream (ATD) initiative. This report describes the progress they made in implementing ATD’s “culture of evidence” principles for institutional improvement, examines strategies they implemented to improve student success, and charts trends in student outcomes before and after they joined ATD.
Two reports offer findings on the effectiveness of learning communities, a popular strategy that places small cohorts of students together in two or more thematically linked courses, usually for a single semester, with added support, such as extra advising or tutoring.