Two substantial bodies of evidence underpin Metro’s approach
1) The Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University identified a set of “High Impact Educational Practices” found to have the greatest impact on learning outcomes for all students, with quantifiable compensatory effects for students from low-income and under-represented communities. This research was led by Metro advisor Dr. George Kuh. The American Association of Colleges and Universities has taken a leading role in publicizing this research.
2) Metro reflects both the long history and recent findings on cohort-style pathways of linked courses. Metro advisor Vincent Tinto led two decades of research starting in the 1990s, showing that students in learning cohort-style pathways both academically and socially. His 1998 study found positive outcome for students with developmental needs in six community colleges, including
- attempting and passing more courses,
- higher GPA,
- better retention,
- and higher writing assessment test scores.
A follow-up study in 13 community colleges found a positive impact on persistence (2008).
More recent randomized controlled trials have been completed by MDRC. One semester cohort-style pathways are often better at helping students progress through developmental courses, are sometimes better at helping credit accumulation, but do not improve persistence two to three semesters later. These findings suggest that a longer and more advanced program such as Metro could have a more sustained impact.