58 episodes

Policymakers talk about solutions, but which ones really work? MDRC’s Evidence First podcast features experts—program administrators, policymakers, and researchers—talking about the best evidence available on education and social programs that serve people with low incomes.

Evidence First MDRC

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 16 Ratings

Policymakers talk about solutions, but which ones really work? MDRC’s Evidence First podcast features experts—program administrators, policymakers, and researchers—talking about the best evidence available on education and social programs that serve people with low incomes.

    Promoting Equity in Developmental Education Reform: A Conversation with Nikki Edgecombe and Michael Weiss

    Promoting Equity in Developmental Education Reform: A Conversation with Nikki Edgecombe and Michael Weiss

    Developmental education, also known as remedial education, refers to courses that some entering college students will have to take if they are deemed unprepared for college-level courses. However, studies have shown that developmental education can actually hinder students’ progress in college. Additionally, students of color, adults, first-generation students, and those from low-income backgrounds are disproportionately placed in developmental education programs, so there’s a lot of interest among policymakers, college practitioners, and researchers in reforming developmental education programs to address these challenges and support more equitable outcomes for students.
    As part of MDRC’s 50th anniversary celebration, this episode of Evidence First features MDRC’s longtime partner the Community College Research Center, or CCRC. In 2014, MDRC and CCRC launched the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, or CAPR, to research the effectiveness of developmental education reforms and to understand their implications for equity.
    In this episode, Leigh Parise talks with Nikki Edgecombe, a senior research scholar at CCRC who leads CAPR, and Michael Weiss, a senior fellow in postsecondary education at MDRC, about what has been learned about promoting equity in developmental education reform.

    • 36 min
    Building Impact Through Partnership: A Conversation About Per Scholas and MDRC

    Building Impact Through Partnership: A Conversation About Per Scholas and MDRC

    Sector-focused employment programs aim to improve the economic mobility of people with low incomes by training them for quality jobs in sectors that have strong local demand and opportunities for advancement. By partnering with local employers, these programs provide them with a skilled and able workforce. 
     
    As part of MDRC’s 50th anniversary celebration, this episode of Evidence First features MDRC’s longtime partner Per Scholas, a leading national nonprofit offering training and employment services focused on specific employment sectors. MDRC’s evaluation has confirmed that Per Scholas offers a highly effective training model.
     
    Leigh Parise talks with Tamara Johnson, Chief of Staff at Per Scholas; Shondra Tobler, Senior Director of National Admissions at Per Scholas; and Donna Wharton-Fields, a senior fellow at MDRC. They discuss MDRC’s long-term research partnership aimed at helping Per Scholas improve its program and expand its reach.

    • 32 min
    Training Workers When Employers Hire Based on Skills: Lessons from Connecticut and Virginia

    Training Workers When Employers Hire Based on Skills: Lessons from Connecticut and Virginia

    As the cost of higher education climbs, skills-based hiring has gained traction. It’s a labor market trend in which employers hire based on applicants’ skills, with the understanding that degrees are not the only way to acquire competencies.
     
    In a follow-up to an earlier episode on skills-based hiring, Rachel Rosen, who leads MDRC’s Center for Effective Career and Technical Education, speaks with two guests: Kelli-Marie Vallieres, Connecticut’s Chief Workforce Officer who leads the state’s Office of Workforce Strategy, and Elizabeth Creamer, Vice President of Workforce Development for the Community College Workforce Alliance, which is the workforce development division of Brightpoint and Reynolds community colleges, within the Virginia Community College System.  
    They discuss which sectors are experiencing an uptick in skills-based hiring in Connecticut, what non-degree programs are offered in Virginia, and whether skills-based hiring can promote equity.

    • 32 min
    Implementing an Evidence-Based and Domain-Specific Pre-K Curriculum: A Conversation with Cheryl Ohlson and Michelle Maier

    Implementing an Evidence-Based and Domain-Specific Pre-K Curriculum: A Conversation with Cheryl Ohlson and Michelle Maier

    Most pre-K classrooms use a whole-child approach to educational curricula, which focuses on the broad development of children’s academic skills. By contrast, domain-specific curricula focus more on specific areas of learning, such as math, literacy, or science. MDRC has partnered with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to implement a new domain-specific curriculum in its schools.
    In this episode, Leigh Parise speaks with Cheryl Ohlson, DCPS deputy chief of early childhood education, and Michelle Maier, MDRC senior associate, to outline their domain-specific curriculum strategy and to explain some of the ups and downs of their ongoing implementation in pre-K programs across Washington, DC. They explain how domain-specific curricula intersects with other important trends in pre-K education, including the importance of play and of providing developmentally appropriate instruction. Ohlson also discusses how teachers were trained to teach domain-specific curricula and addresses some of the challenges of implementing the initiative at scale.

    • 23 min
    When Employers Hire Based on Skills: A Conversation with Matt Sigelman

    When Employers Hire Based on Skills: A Conversation with Matt Sigelman

    As the cost of higher education climbs, skills-based hiring has gained traction. It’s a labor market trend in which employers hire based on applicants’ skills, with the understanding that degrees are not the only way to acquire competencies.
     
    Skills-based hiring has the potential to increase equity in the hiring process, providing avenues to socio-economic mobility for historically marginalized populations. However, there are also questions about whether the movement could demotivate students from pursuing two- or four-year degrees that may be more transferable to other jobs.
     
    To learn more about skills-based hiring across education and workforce training domains, Leigh Parise talks with Matt Sigelman, President of the Burning Glass Institute, which studies economic and workforce trends.

    • 24 min
    Lessons about Tutoring and Addressing Learning Loss from Reading Partners

    Lessons about Tutoring and Addressing Learning Loss from Reading Partners

    Many schools are expanding tutoring services and personalized instruction to address learning loss caused by the pandemic. This episode features Reading Partners, a successful national nonprofit that mobilizes community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring to students who struggle with reading in under-resourced elementary schools. MDRC has been working with Reading Partners for nearly 15 years to help document and improve the program’s effectiveness. MDRC’s rigorous evaluation of Reading Partners found that its program boosted three different measures of reading proficiency, including reading comprehension, for second- to fifth-graders.  
    In the first episode of a series celebrating MDRC’s 50th anniversary and our longtime collaborators, join Leigh Parise as she talks with Dean Elson, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reading Partners, and Robin Jacob, a Research Professor at Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and Co-Director of the Youth Policy Lab. Jacob helped lead MDRC’s evaluation of Reading Partners and is currently studying their distance learning model, Reading Partners Connects. Elson and Jacob discuss MDRC’s study of Reading Partners, how to get volunteers to teach reading effectively, and how technology will continue to play a role in tutoring.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

Hyde Park Native ,

Informative!

Great source for the latest in social policy research!

ladylawyer232 ,

A short and sweet shot of evidence!

Really informative and engaging.

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