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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Marin, Vanessa; Broadus, Joseph
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Nationwide, close to 40 million adults lack a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Nearly a quarter of high school freshmen do not graduate and, in many large cities, dropout rates in recent years have stood at around 50 percent. And while most high school dropouts eventually do continue their education — usually through adult education or GED preparation programs — too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a high school diploma already face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education; for GED holders, the chances are even worse. Given this context, the need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal...

    Nationwide, close to 40 million adults lack a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Nearly a quarter of high school freshmen do not graduate and, in many large cities, dropout rates in recent years have stood at around 50 percent. And while most high school dropouts eventually do continue their education — usually through adult education or GED preparation programs — too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a high school diploma already face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education; for GED holders, the chances are even worse. Given this context, the need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal financial aid for aspiring college students without a high school diploma or a GED, and by the planned 2014  implementation of a new GED exam that emphasizes college readiness. 

    To better understand how adult education programs might strengthen pathways to college and careers, MDRC, with financial support from the Robin Hood Foundation and MetLife Foundation, partnered with LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY) to launch a small but rigorous study of the GED Bridge to Health and Business program. The GED Bridge program represents a promising new approach to GED instruction, as it aims to better prepare students not only to pass the GED exam, but also to continue on to college and training programs. MDRC has conducted several evaluations of programs that include GED preparation as one among many program components, but this evaluation is one of only a few to focus specifically on GED curriculum, program design, and efforts to forge a stronger link to college and career training. The results are highly encouraging: One year after enrolling in the program, Bridge students were far more likely to have completed the course, passed the GED exam, and enrolled in college than students in a more traditional GED preparation course. This brief details some of the key findings from this study as well as their implications for future research and for the development of stronger GED and adult education programming. (Author Abstract)

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Sommo, Colleen; Welbeck, Rashida
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Many adult students struggle to finance their educations, often contending with work and child care expenses in addition to the extra cost of remedial courses. Moreover, there is little need-based grant aid to help. This report presents early findings from an evaluation of a program in New York City targeted to low-income adults (ages 22 to 35) who need remedial course work. Part of MDRC’s national Performance-Based Scholarship (PBS) Demonstration, the program operated at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Hostos Community College, both part of the City University of New York, in 2008 and 2009. Participating students were eligible for either a $1,300 scholarship for two consecutive semesters (totaling up to $2,600) or for $1,300 for each of those semesters and one summer term (totaling up to $3,900), if they maintained at least part-time enrollment, met attendance benchmarks, and earned at least a “C” average across six credits of courses. Scholarships were paid directly to students in increments and did not supplant other aid for which students qualified.

    ...

    Many adult students struggle to finance their educations, often contending with work and child care expenses in addition to the extra cost of remedial courses. Moreover, there is little need-based grant aid to help. This report presents early findings from an evaluation of a program in New York City targeted to low-income adults (ages 22 to 35) who need remedial course work. Part of MDRC’s national Performance-Based Scholarship (PBS) Demonstration, the program operated at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Hostos Community College, both part of the City University of New York, in 2008 and 2009. Participating students were eligible for either a $1,300 scholarship for two consecutive semesters (totaling up to $2,600) or for $1,300 for each of those semesters and one summer term (totaling up to $3,900), if they maintained at least part-time enrollment, met attendance benchmarks, and earned at least a “C” average across six credits of courses. Scholarships were paid directly to students in increments and did not supplant other aid for which students qualified.

    This innovative program, along with those in five other states in the PBS Demonstration, builds on lessons from MDRC’s Opening Doors Demonstration in Louisiana, which led to higher rates of persistence and credit accumulation. The Louisiana program offered performance-based scholarships to low-income parents for two semesters; counselors met with students periodically and disbursed the scholarships. Unlike the Louisiana program, the New York PBS program did not include counseling and focused on adult students needing remediation.

    The PBS evaluation randomly assigned approximately 1,500 low-income students to one of two program groups eligible to receive up to either $2,600 or $3,900 in scholarships, or to a control group eligible only for usual financial aid. Comparing outcomes of the combined program groups with control group outcomes measures the impact of the scholarship program. Comparing outcomes for the two program groups speaks to the relative importance of additional funding for summer attendance. Early analyses of student transcripts for about 60 percent of the total sample suggest that the program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Leininger, Lindsey J.; Kalil, Ariel
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    Using data on approximately 2,000 low-income welfare recipients in a three-site random-assignment intervention conducted in the early 1990s (the NEWWS), the authors examine the role of cognitive and non-cognitive factors in moderating experimental impacts of an adult education training program for women who lacked a high school degree or GED at the time of random assignment. Both cognitive and noncognitive skills (in particular, locus of control) moderate treatment impacts. For the sample as a whole, assignment to an education-focused program had a statistically significant (albeit modest) 8 percentage point impact on the probability of degree receipt. For those with low cognitive skills, virtually all of these program impacts were eliminated. However, non-cognitive skills play a substantively important role such that women with high cognitive skills but low non-cognitive skills are only half as likely to earn a degree as their counterparts with high skills of both types. (author abstract)

    Using data on approximately 2,000 low-income welfare recipients in a three-site random-assignment intervention conducted in the early 1990s (the NEWWS), the authors examine the role of cognitive and non-cognitive factors in moderating experimental impacts of an adult education training program for women who lacked a high school degree or GED at the time of random assignment. Both cognitive and noncognitive skills (in particular, locus of control) moderate treatment impacts. For the sample as a whole, assignment to an education-focused program had a statistically significant (albeit modest) 8 percentage point impact on the probability of degree receipt. For those with low cognitive skills, virtually all of these program impacts were eliminated. However, non-cognitive skills play a substantively important role such that women with high cognitive skills but low non-cognitive skills are only half as likely to earn a degree as their counterparts with high skills of both types. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bos, Johannes M.; Scrivener, Susan; Snipes, Jason; Hamilton, Gayle; Schwartz, Christine; Walter, Johanna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    These analyses of how adult education works in the context of welfare-to-work programs were conducted for a large sample of welfare recipients who entered one of the 11 programs studied in the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) without a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Thus, the findings do not generalize to welfare recipients who do have a high school diploma but who still may be served by HCD programs that provide more advanced levels of education and training. The types of adult education examined in the report encompass adult basic education (ABE) classes, programs preparing students for the GED exam, regular high school classes, and classes in English as a Second Language (ESL). Among these, ABE and GED preparation accounted for most of the adult education in the 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs studied. These 11 programs operated in seven sites, and each program was operated under the federal FSA and its Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program. (...

    These analyses of how adult education works in the context of welfare-to-work programs were conducted for a large sample of welfare recipients who entered one of the 11 programs studied in the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) without a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Thus, the findings do not generalize to welfare recipients who do have a high school diploma but who still may be served by HCD programs that provide more advanced levels of education and training. The types of adult education examined in the report encompass adult basic education (ABE) classes, programs preparing students for the GED exam, regular high school classes, and classes in English as a Second Language (ESL). Among these, ABE and GED preparation accounted for most of the adult education in the 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs studied. These 11 programs operated in seven sites, and each program was operated under the federal FSA and its Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program. (Program intake for this study began in June 1991 and ended in December 1994; data presented cover June 1991 through December 1997. See the accompanying box for further information about this study and report.)

    This chapter summarizes most, but not all, of the analyses presented as a collection of papers in this report, specifically addressing the following questions:

    1. What are the characteristics of adult education providers in welfare-to-work programs? What are typical attendance patterns in these classes?
    2. To what extent, and for whom, do welfare-to-work programs increase participation in adult education services and increase educational attainment and achievement?
    3. Do education-focused welfare-to-work programs improve education outcomes?
    4. What is the payoff to additional participation in adult education?
    5. How do education outcomes and milestones affect the employment outcomes and self-sufficiency of welfare recipients?
    6. Among those who participate in adult education, who moves on from adult education to receive postsecondary education and training, and how does this contribute to their earnings and self-sufficiency? (author abstract)