School choice systems can be complex and confusing for low-income families. In the search for solutions, researchers and policymakers may have overlooked lessons from other policy arenas. This issue focus suggests strategies from MDRC’s experience designing and evaluating interventions to support low-income people’s decision making in arenas outside P-12 choice systems.
Evidence from the Evaluation of the PACE Center for Girls
Born out of research showing that girls and boys have different risk factors and pathways into the justice system, gender-responsive programs focus on girls’ unique needs and strengths. This brief summarizes the developing research on their effectiveness and describes how one program enacts the principles in its service delivery.
Interim Impact Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation of Diplomas Now
The Diplomas Now whole-school reform model, including targeted interventions for students at risk of dropping out, had an impact on the percentage of students with no early warning indicators related to attendance, behavior, or course performance, and had more encouraging results in middle schools than high schools.
Changing School Practices During the Second Year of Diplomas Now
Diplomas Now, a partnership of three national organizations, aims to increase graduation rates in high-risk schools, targeting support to students who need it most. This second report finds that Diplomas Now schools are differentiating themselves from comparable schools in their implementation of structural and instructional reforms.
Implementation and Interim Impact Findings from the Communities In Schools Evaluation
Services to help students stay in school are often fragmented. In this program, school-based coordinators identify students at risk, work with them to assess their needs, connect them with school and community supports, and monitor their progress. Case-managed students received more services than others, but early impact findings are inconclusive.
The First Year of Implementing Diplomas Now
Three national organizations formed Diplomas Now in an effort to transform urban secondary schools so fewer students drop out. This report introduces Diplomas Now and the associated evaluation, shares first-year implementation fidelity findings, and discusses collaboration among the Diplomas Now partners and between those partners and schools.
In a study sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences, intensive professional development programs for seventh-grade math teachers were implemented as intended, but teacher turnover limited the average dosage received. The programs had no impact on teacher knowledge or student achievement.
This report presents first-year results from the Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. The professional development programs for seventh-grade math teachers had an impact on one measure of teacher practice but no effects on teachers’ knowledge or student achievement.