I don’t know what’s in it (yet), but I’ll be reading pieces of this promising looking report over the weekend when I get tired of reading student essays on Categorical Syllogisms, Pornography, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In response to these issues, MDRC launched the Opening Doors Demonstration in 2003 — the first large-scale random assignment study in a community college setting. The demonstration pursued promising strategies that emerged from focus groups with low-income students, discussions with college administrators, and an extensive literature review. Partnering with six community colleges across the country, MDRC helped develop and evaluated four distinct programs based on the following approaches: financial incentives, reforms in instructional practices, and enhancements in student services. Colleges were encouraged to focus on one strategy but to think creatively about combining elements of the other strategies to design programs that would help students perform better academically and persist toward degree completion.
Opening Doors provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can, indeed, improve educational outcomes for community college students.
Click HERE to read the Policy Brief inspired by the research (it has descriptions of the programs and their effects).