The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states greater responsibility for choosing strategies to improve underperforming schools. For over a decade, MDRC has rigorously evaluated school improvement strategies, collecting evidence that can help states determine which strategies are likely to work. This Issue Focus describes four of MDRC’s most recent studies.
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.
Report on Program Impacts, Program Fidelity, and Contrast
The Content Literacy Continuum combines whole-school and targeted approaches to supporting student literacy and content learning, using instructional routines and learning strategies. This report describes implementation and impact findings from a random assignment study involving 33 high schools in nine school districts.
The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers
Over the course of ninth grade, two supplemental literacy courses modestly improved students’ reading comprehension skills and helped them perform better academically in their course work. However, these benefits did not persist in the following school year, when students were no longer receiving the supplemental support.
This report presents findings from the second year of the Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO) study, a demonstration and random assignment evaluation of two supplemental literacy programs — Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy and Xtreme Reading — that aim to improve the reading comprehension skills and school performance of struggling ninth-grade readers.
This report presents early findings from a demonstration and random assignment evaluation of two supplemental literacy programs that aim to improve the reading comprehension skills and school performance of struggling ninth-grade readers. On average, the programs produced a positive, statistically significant impact on reading comprehension among students.
The Effect of Project GRAD on High School Student Outcomes in Three Urban School Districts
This report describes the effects of Project GRAD, an ambitious education reform that targets high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them, on a variety of student outcomes in high schools in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio.
Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model
Talent Development, a high school reform initiative, produced substantial positive effects on attendance, academic course credits earned, tenth-grade promotion, and algebra pass rates for students in very low-performing schools in Philadelphia.
Context, Components, and Initial Impacts on Ninth-Grade Students’ Engagement and Performance
An examination of the implementation and early impacts of Talent Development, a whole-school reform initiative, found that the model produced substantial gains in ninth-grade students’ course completion and promotion rates.