Resources

AIR's Kathy Hughes coauthored a recent publication funded by Lumina foundation that seeks to better understand noncredit workforce education and its future. To assess the range of existing community college noncredit programs, interviews were conducted with administrators at 29 U.S. colleges. The data show that community college noncredit workforce education varies greatly across colleges, and many of its aspects are undergoing transformation.

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.

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.

Projects

The Delta Cost Project at AIR used quantitative descriptive analyses of patterns and trends to prepare two briefs. The aim of these briefs was twofold: (a) examine the academic workforce across different types of institutions and (b) explore the financial implications of changes to the higher education workforce.

AIR is analyzing 20 years of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 panel using an individual fixed-effects regression strategy. The purpose of the analysis is to estimate the returns to non-credit-bearing credential and licensure pathways compared with credit-bearing credential and associate degree programs that are unrelated to persistent differences in the respondents’ characteristics (e.g., ability). Findings show that credit-bearing credentials yield an approximately equal likelihood to be employed as noncredit-bearing credentials, but significantly improved earnings of about $7,000 a year.

AIR developed a coaching series, administered biannually to Wisconsin Technical College System staff. The aims of the series were to support the colleges’ abilities to use research, research methods, and data collection and analysis strategies.

AIR is conducting a 3-year evaluation of 12 separate organizations selected by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as Intermediaries for Scale. The goals of evaluation are to support the Foundation’s postsecondary strategy by better understanding the relationships between intermediary capabilities and institutional transformation.

AIR is conducting this study for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to better understand the role of higher education state system offices in supporting and driving institutional transformation. The goals of this study are to help improve student success and promote equity in postsecondary education.