Going Away to School: An Evaluation of SEED DC

SEED DC Residential School
Implementing Organization: 
SEED Foundation
Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

SEED is the first public, urban, college-preparatory boarding school that works to prepare students from low-income and underserved communities for college enrollment and success. The school serves approximately 320 sixth through twelfth-graders. 

The evaluation consisted of an implementation on how SEED DC was structured and an impact study on the outcomes of being offered an opportunity to attend SEED DC. This study uses SEED's annual admissions lottery to identify two comparable groups of students - those who applied to SEED and were selected at random to be offered a spot and those who applied to SEED and were not offered, and following these two groups of students over time. The study found that:

  • SEED DC provides students with a wide array of services, including both academic and emotional spport.
  • The school produced significant positive impacts on students' standardized test scores and proficiency levels in comparison with outcomes among students who did not win admission.
  • For students in the earliest cohorts who can be follwoed through high school, SEED DC did not increase the proportion who graduated from high school in four years.
  • Although SEED DC showed a couple of positive behavioral effects, it did not show an impact on the key nonacademic outcomes such as teen pregnancy or interaction with the criminal justice system that could justify its higher cost.
CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
Outcomes Category(s): 
K-12 Success
Post-Secondary Educational Support
Study Type(s): 
Study Design(s): 
Experimental (RCT)
Level of Evidence: 
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
August 7, 2017
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