This brief, produced with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, offers promising strategies to address the barriers that state-level postsecondary leaders have observed inhibit evidence-based policy making in higher education.
Scaling Up Postsecondary Student Success Strategies
Minnesota’s two-year project to improve student success and degree attainment focused on improved course placement methods, communications about satisfactory academic progress and policies, and comprehensive student support programs. A major lesson in this brief: Programs that show significant results must be implemented widely to change student outcomes meaningfully.
What Colleges Need to Know About Multiple Measures Assessments
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.
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.
Career and Technical Education Connects the Dots
The economic recession triggered by the global pandemic has magnified the need for high-quality programs that can help students acquire the skills, training, and postsecondary credentials they need to thrive in the workplace. Here are some programs that studies show improved academic outcomes and increased earnings.
How Community Colleges Are Advancing Equity in Career and Technical Education
Community college career and technical education (CTE) can fill shortages in the labor market while providing a pathway to economic mobility. But can it do so equitably? In 2019, MDRC’s Center for Effective CTE conducted a scan of notable programs across the country to find out more.
Evidence Underlying Programs and Policies That Work
This brief, a collaboration with Results for America, identifies the major categories of career and technical education within the nation’s secondary and postsecondary education systems and describes the existing research on whether these programs are achieving desired outcomes for students.
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.
Data can help career and technical education programs refine their models, pinpoint successes, and communicate lessons with funders and stakeholders. Drawing in part on conversations with leaders in the field, this brief outlines four steps programs can take to strengthen their data-collection and measurement activities and develop robust data strategies.
In the spring of 2019, MDRC invited practitioners from innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs to discuss questions of equity. This policy brief summarizes the most common equity challenges that were raised in the discussion, along with ideas that emerged for how to address them.