Resources

AIR’s Dr. Rachel Dinkes joined panelists from academia, policymaking, and the U.S. higher education system to discuss who should foot the bill as postsecondary education expands in the United States.

This journal article explores whether community college websites are a useful medium for providing knowledge relevant to degree completion. The findings suggest that participants frequently encountered problems with finding and understanding information about degree selection and completion. The content analysis of these problems yields recommendations for improving the usability of community college websites for answering common questions about degree completion.

This journal article discusses a study that investigated the effect of the expanded availability of online curricula on persistence in the field and toward a degree. The findings suggest that for the average person, taking an online course has a negative effect on the probability of taking another course in the same field and on the probability of earning a degree.

This journal article discusses a study evaluating the effectiveness of math placement policies for entering community college students on these students' academic success in math. Researchers estimate the impact of placement decisions by using a discrete-time survival model within a regression discontinuity framework. The primary conclusion that emerges is that initial placement in a lower level course increases the time until a student at the margin completes the higher level course they were not assigned to by about a year on average, but in most cases, after this time period, the penalty was small and not statistically significant.

Projects

AIR’s work with the College Completion Network brings together research teams to share ideas, build knowledge, conduct sound research, and share findings about postsecondary success. The Network’s goals include evaluating promising interventions related to college completion, building knowledge about college completion and postsecondary success, providing policymakers and college leaders with reliable evidence, and strengthening the work of Network research teams through collaboration.

AIR conducted an in-depth examination of articulation policies in six states and their 20 institutions of higher education (IHEs). The study findings are based on more than 100 telephone interviews and focus groups with (a) state-level higher education administrators, policy staff, and representatives from articulation oversight committees; (b) senior academic administrators, faculty, and staff from IHEs; and (c) students who had transferred or were planning to transfer between a 2-year and a 4-year IHE within the state. The findings address policy approaches to articulation, governance structures, the roles played by various stakeholders, and supports provided to transfer students.

AIR created an online tool that allows users in Utah to view the return on investment associated with completing a degree from a particular state institution, in a particular major, at a particular level. Researchers incorporated data from multiple sources, including statewide completion data, data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Gallup, and more, to build the tool. The goal of the tool was to present the state’s educational outcome data in a way that makes it easy for users to compare and make decisions about their educational path.

AIR participated in a workgroup organized by The Century Foundation consisting of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers focused on developing a research agenda that estimates the true costs of providing a community college education and what implications this might have for funding policy reform. This work culminated in three research briefs, one of which AIR co-authored.

AIR is conducting an evaluation of the implementation of the Perkins V legislation, which defines and supports career and technical education (CTE). The evaluation includes a survey of state CTE directors, a nationally representative survey of local education agencies, an evidence review of career development and counseling, analysis of extant data, a content analysis of the states’ Perkins plans, and possibly a survey of community colleges. This research will explore the implementation of the Perkins V legislation and how implementation is changing as a result of new mandates and allowable activities.

AIR is conducting an evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Solution Network, an initiative seeking to systematically connect the needs of higher education institutions with support resources via a network approach. The goal of the evaluation is to support the Foundation's larger postsecondary strategy by analyzing and reporting on what works, for whom, and under what circumstances within the Network.