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Use Data
Issue Focus
July 2022

This blog post looks at how community colleges participating in MDRC’s Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) project use data-driven program management to keep tabs on key performance measures in real time and then act when those measures aren’t moving in the right direction.

Issue Focus
June 2022

Homeboy Industries Managed Its Organization-Wide Transition to a New Data System by Following Five Key Principles

Homeboy Industries’ (HBI) experience implementing a new data system was described in an earlier InPractice post. This post examines the complexities and challenges that must be addressed before successful implementation can take place, and how HBI managed that change process.

Issue Focus
May 2022

Three Steps for Assessing Benchmarks in All-Hands Meetings

How does your organization keep track of its progress toward meeting key performance benchmarks? In this edition of InPractice, we share a few tips on how to use staff meetings to make sure your team is staying on-target.

September 2021

In this commentary, originally published in District Administration, MDRC’s Michelle Maier and Shira Mattera offer evidenced-backed advice for policymakers and practitioners about how to invest new federal funds to enhance the quality of preschool programs.

Issue Focus
August 2021

Many programs and agencies collect data about their clients and service use but they may not have the time and resources to use those data to inform their decision making. This post shares some simple approaches for how to use data to improve programs.

Issue Focus
June 2021

Unemployed or underemployed parents have trouble paying child support. In the Families Forward Demonstration, child support agencies sought to help parents get better jobs and increase their earnings by teaching job skills needed by local employers. The questions arising from the project may help other agencies evaluate prospective job training partners.

Issue Focus
April 2021

Lessons from the Pandemic Year for the Future

The InPractice blog is MDRC’s place for sharing resources and tips developed by practitioners, for practitioners. This review of the past year’s posts shows how our program partners adjusted to difficult, uncertain conditions and continued to deliver services during the worst of the pandemic.

Issue Focus
October 2020

Process maps are “human-centered” tools social services organizations can use to improve their service​ delivery by breaking down complex problems and addressing them collaboratively. See how the Los Angeles Community College District improved its Los Angeles College Promise program by bringing students into the making of​ its process maps.

Issue Focus
August 2019

Using Data to Analyze Enrollment Drop-Off

The August 2019 In Practice blog post offers tips for programs to ensure that the participants they recruit, actually enroll. In this post, we examine some key lessons from MDRC’s evaluation of the WorkAdvance project to help turn program recruits into program success stories.

Issue Focus
May 2019

A central element of effective social programs is reaching the target population. Establishing clear and achievable enrollment benchmarks can help programs do just that. This post uses the example of enrollment to establish specific steps that can help practitioners meet benchmarks that are realistic, well-defined, and robust.