Projects

AIR is working with five open- and broad-access institutions across Texas to conduct a randomized controlled trial that assigns students to either corequisites or traditional developmental education courses and then compares 3-year outcomes in terms of course success, persistence, and degree completion. The goal of the study is to better understand the impact and implementation of corequisite courses in Texas community colleges.

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.

As part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s postsecondary strategy, AIR evaluated a group of organizations, or Channel Partners, in their postsecondary institutional transformation efforts. The goals of the evaluation included understanding the services and resources that Channel Partners provide to clients, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and share lessons learned to support continuous improvement and the development of strategy.

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 is supporting the Business Higher Education Forum in developing a logic model, an implementation plan, and an evaluation plan to address the need for more digital technology professionals in the Washington, D.C., region. The goal of this grant is to identify implementation needs and opportunities and develop a scalable and replicable model for increasing the number of digital technology professionals in the region.

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 evaluated several competency-based education (CBE) programs to build evidence related to student outcomes. The evaluation was a response to the minimal availability of evidence-based student achievement and cost outcomes surrounding CBE programs. The goals of the evaluation were to build evidence about student outcomes in CBE programs and provide tools for program leaders and researchers to support evaluation and continuous improvement 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.

AIR is conducting a 50-month research and evaluation project of 29 institutions and two state systems to enhance the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s and the broader field’s understanding of the institutional transformation process. The goal of the project is to share findings and results from institutional-level and cross-case data related to what catalyzes the transformation process at an institution, the key components of effective models of transformation, how stakeholders are engaged in the transformation process, the timeline for seeing visible changes in institutional and student outcomes, and the risks to transformation.

AIR is serving as an evaluation partner for the Data for the American Dream (D4AD) initiative. D4AD supports innovative efforts to expand access to education and career data, with the specific goal of helping students and jobseekers make better career decisions in a changing economy through data-driven information, and especially to help low-income and unemployed Americans access better jobs and education opportunities. AIR’s role is to help grantees, sponsors, and the field learn from these efforts.