Projects

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.

The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, operated by AIR, is conducting a formative evaluation of the Minnesota Learning Center Networked Improvement Community (NIC). The goal is to assess the functioning of the NIC and share a methodology for evaluating the implementation of NICs. Interest is growing in using NICs to address complex problems of educational practice, and this evaluation will contribute to the limited body of research on the extent to which NICs are operating as planned and intended.

AIR conducted a comprehensive review of the Massachusetts Turnaround Practices and Indicators Continuum rubric. As a result of this review, AIR provided recommendations to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for refining the existing rubric to focus on the specific issues and high-leverage strategies that lead to improvement in high schools.

AIR evaluated outcomes associated with the Walton Family Foundation’s sizable past investments in the University of Arkansas (UA). AIR analyzed data provided by the Foundation, as well as publicly available data, to estimate the impact of these major investments on key indicators of institutional success at UA. This evaluation has allowed the Foundation to determine how it might further support UA in driving regional economic development and bettering the lives of the state’s residents.

AIR, in collaboration with 2M Research and Education Strategies Group, is designing and executing the National Evaluation of Career and Technical Education Under Perkins V. The evaluation will assess the implementation of CTE under the new law, how CTE participation and outcomes are evolving over time,  and the effectiveness of CTE strategies permitted under Perkins V in improving key student outcomes. The evaluation will satisfy a legislative mandate in Perkins V and will give Congress and other policymakers a comprehensive assessment of CTE under the new law.

AIR conducted a literature review and interviews with college and career readiness experts to support the development of a profile of a Boston high school graduate. The goals of this research were to identify a set of college and career readiness indicators for this population and support stakeholders and a consultant in developing a profile of Boston Public Schools’ graduates.

Researchers from AIR and the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands, are working with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), Office of Postsecondary Commissioner, and others, to develop a work-based learning (WBL) rubric and facilitate a review of the PrepareRI data catalog, a statewide initiative to support young people in developing the skills they need to be successful and competitive for the high-demand jobs of the future. The goals of the project are to support RIDE in evaluating the quality of WBL experiences as well as reviewing its data catalog to identify measures of career readiness for use in future data collection efforts.

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.

The National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at AIR, plus other partners, have collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to study career and technical education (CTE) in the state. The project aims to investigate several topics, including, the application process for CTE programs and schools, the association between participation in CTE programs and later student outcomes, the variation in student outcomes across CTE programs and student characteristics, and associations between CTE teacher qualifications and student outcomes.

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.