In the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping school districts redesign their teacher professional development systems to better support teachers in increasing student success. This Issue Focus introduces the iPD Challenge and presents some early findings from MDRC’s study of it.
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.
Ten Years of Chicago’s New Communities Program
A 10-year, $50-million initiative, the New Communities Program supported community organizations in 14 Chicago neighborhoods to convene local partners to carry out varied improvement activities, from safety to education and affordable housing. This report describes NCP’s successes and challenges and the implications of its experience for federal and local community development programs.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.
The Success for All Model of School Reform
Success for All, a whole-school reading reform, received a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant in 2010 to expand to additional elementary schools. This report examines the program’s implementation and the impacts in 2012-2013, the second year of operation, on early reading skills.
The Implementation and Effectiveness of a One-on-One Tutoring Program Delivered by Community Volunteers
After one year, Reading Partners, a one-on-one tutoring program delivered by volunteers, improved three different measures of reading proficiency for second- to fifth-graders — impacts equaling 1.5 to 2 months of growth in literacy achievement over a control group (who also received supplemental reading services).
What Two Rigorous Studies Tell Us
This synthesis reviews findings from two rigorous, large-scale evaluations — the Professional Development in Reading Study and the Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study. Both interventions had only limited effects on teachers’ knowledge and instruction and no impacts on students’ test scores. The report ends with suggestions about how professional development might be improved to achieve better results.
How Families Responded to Education Incentives in New York City’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program
Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards was a conditional cash transfer program that provided payments to low-income families for achieving specific health, education, and employment goals. Drawing on in-depth interviews, this report looks at how families viewed the education incentives, communicated about them with their children, reinforced educational rewards, and advanced their quality of life through the program.
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 paper provides practical guidance for researchers who are designing and analyzing studies that randomize schools — which comprise three levels of clustering (students in classrooms in schools) — to measure intervention effects on student academic outcomes when information on the middle level (classrooms) is missing.