Hot on the heels of my post on coaching, I saw a PhiloDave recommendation regarding an MDRC study on student success at six community colleges.
His post caught my eye because I am a huge fan of MDRC. I find their research scrupulous and relevant. Their work on Career and Technical Education formed the support for my work at Chicago Public Schools and their efforts to re-vamp CTE in CPS High Schools. (In a nutshell, students who are in well-run CTE programs have significantly higher earnings than the control group. The effects are significant for males at $3,600 per year after ten years, and insignificant for females).
- Reforms in higher education practices and policies can help students succeed —even nontraditional students.
- Short-term enhancements can generate short-term effects but are not likely to generate longer-term gains.
- Single-focus, “light-touch” student service interventions can make a difference for students but may not be robust enough to substantially improve outcomes.
- Financial incentives can influence students’ behavior.
- Requirements can increase participation and improve student outcomes.
Read the paper to see which interventions they studied. One of the promising practices was Learning Communities, in this case “a program for incoming freshmen, most requiring developmental English. Linked courses; provided enhanced counseling, tutoring, and a text book voucher.”
I am going to share this with the Student Support and Pathways Task Force on Reinvention. We meet every Friday to discuss progress. In the meantime, I welcome thoughts (debate, studies showing different outcomes or interventions, etc.)