This paper provides practical guidance for researchers who are designing studies that randomize groups to measure the impacts of educational interventions.
An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration
This policy brief describes a demonstration launched by MDRC in four states in 2008 to evaluate whether performance-based scholarships — paid contingent on attaining academic benchmarks — are an effective way to improve persistence and academic success among low-income college students. The demonstration builds on positive results from an earlier MDRC study in Louisiana.
A Case Study of an Achieving the Dream College
Achieving the Dream teaches community colleges to use student data to improve programming and student success. Since participating, Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina has become a data-driven, success-oriented institution and has seen promising trends in student achievement. This study offers lessons for other colleges undertaking similar institutional reform.
Three-Year Effects of an Enhanced Student Services Program at Two Community Colleges
In this program, low-income students received enhanced student services and were eligible for a modest stipend for two semesters. The program improved academic outcomes in the second semester and registration in the semester after that, but these effects did not persist in subsequent semesters.
Lessons from the SSPIRE Initiative
This report describes how community colleges in California that participated in the Student Support Partnership Integrating Resources and Education (SSPIRE) initiative took steps to better serve low-income and underprepared students by integrating student support services with academic instruction.
What We Know, What We Don’t, and What’s Next
Studies of Reading First released in 2008 found no overall effect on student reading comprehension, and the program was eliminated in 2009. However, the research findings were more nuanced than was widely reported, and they offer lessons for policymakers making critical choices today about how the federal government can best support the teaching of reading to young children.
A Research Note for Funders
Targeted toward very low-income families in six high-poverty New York City communities, Family Rewards offers cash payments tied to efforts and achievements in children’s education, family preventive health care practices, and parents’ employment. This paper reviews data on participants’ receipt of rewards and offers preliminary estimates of the program’s impacts on selected educational outcomes during the first year.
Effects of a Community College Program for Probationary Students
Rates of graduation and degree completion at community colleges remain distressingly low. This report evaluates two versions of a program designed to help probationary students at community college succeed in school. One version increased the average number of credits earned, the proportion of students who earned a grade point average of “C” or higher, and the proportion who moved off probation.
Effects of a Performance-Based Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents
This report describes the impacts of a performance-based scholarship program with a counseling component on academic success and persistence among low-income parents. Students who participated in the program, which was operated at two New Orleans-area colleges as part of MDRC’s multisite Opening Doors demonstration, were more likely to stay in school, get higher grades, and earn more credits.