This journal article discusses findings from a study that used a randomized controlled trial to assess the impact of Early College High Schools on students’ high school graduation, college enrollment, and college degree attainment, as well as students’ high school experiences using extant data and survey data. The findings indicate that Early Colleges had positive impacts on college enrollment and college completion as well as students’ high school experiences.

This brief highlights evidence-based practices related to early college high schools that promote college and career readiness.


AIR’s NAEP researchers are conducting statistical and psychometric research, evaluation, and data analysis in support of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The goals of the research studies conducted by AIR under this task include (a) developing the psychometric soundness and precision of NAEP assessments, (b) adapting NAEP assessments to changing situations and populations, (c) enhancing understanding of NAEP results, and (d) exploring new ways of modeling NAEP data.

AIR is evaluating IDEA (Individuals Dedicated to Excellence and Achievement) Public Schools’ implementation of two computer science interventions that aim to (a) increase access to and participation in rigorous mathematics and computer science coursework among students who are traditionally underrepresented and (b) increase the number of teachers with deep content knowledge in computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) within schools predominantly consisting of students from low-income backgrounds. The goals of the evaluation are to determine if the two interventions are improving students’ performance on district, state, and Advanced Placement mathematics assessments and if they contribute to postsecondary STEM aspirations.

AIR conducted data collection and analysis for U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of all high schools in the country. The goal was to create a ranking system to identify the top-performing high schools that were exceeding the odds based on the students they serve. Rankings were based on state proficiency standards and the degree to which schools were preparing students for college-level work.

AIR is evaluating STEMfast, a program developed by New Mexico Highlands University to provide comprehensive support services to Hispanic students and students from low-income backgrounds who are studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEMfast addresses the underrepresentation of these students in STEM fields and works to decrease the likelihood that developmental core subject courses will deter these students from persisting and graduating from college.

The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, operated by AIR, is conducting a study to better understand career and technical education (CTE) course offerings in Indiana and Minnesota and identify gaps in access to high-quality CTE programming in these states.

AIR is providing support for the Longitudinal Studies Branch, which is responsible for the design and operation of three national early childhood cohort studies and several longitudinal studies of middle school, high school, and postsecondary students. AIR is providing support across the full range of design and reporting activities associated with the major data collection projects and statistical studies, including study development, cognitive laboratory work, field test and national data collection activities, review of data files and data documentation, report review and development, outreach, user support, and training activities.

AIR conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine the effects of Early College High Schools, which allow students to take a mixture of high school and college-level courses. The study examined the impacts of Early College High Schools on college enrollment and degree completion up to 6 years after expected high school graduation, in addition to a cost-benefit analysis of Early College High Schools. The goals of the study were to estimate the longer-term impacts of Early College High Schools on student postsecondary outcomes and compare the financial costs and benefits of these schools.

AIR developed and facilitated a training series for Rhode Island high schools that provided staff with data to inform conversations about how best to prepare their students for college and careers. Researchers worked with school leadership teams to examine student profile data and use the information to determine priority areas for focused improvement, inform strategic planning, and access resources to improve postsecondary outcomes.