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 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 is evaluating the implementation and impact of the New Tech Network’s (NTN) partnership with 10 high schools in Texas, which is intended to improve student advising during the transition to college. The goals of this evaluation are to help NTN address any implementation issues and determine the effectiveness of their revised advising practices.
AIR is testing whether Castleman and Page’s “Summer Melt” text messaging intervention increases college enrollment, persistence, and credential attainment among college-intending seniors at high-poverty high schools when implemented at scale in routine educational settings. This randomized controlled study aims to extend existing research on the intervention by studying its cost effectiveness, implementation, and impact on student enrollment and persistence patterns.
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.
AIR’s College and Career Readiness and Success Center launched the State Work-Based Learning Initiative to help support states in designing, scaling, and implementing work-based learning (WBL) efforts as a strategy to improve student college and career readiness. This initiative is based on four state-led, peer-to-peer networks that focus on specific WBL priorities, promote cross-state learning, and engage external WBL experts. The goals of the initiative are to collect and share emerging strategies, identify common challenges, and develop resources related to the implementation of WBL.
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.
The Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest, operated by AIR, in collaboration with the Southwest College and Career Readiness Research Partnership, studied the ability of these indicators to predict postsecondary readiness (ACT score of 19 or above) and success (college enrollment and persistence within eight years of beginning grade 6) for Arkansas students who entered grade 6 in 2008/09 or 2009/10. The study’s findings can help state and local education agencies, both in Arkansas and across the nation, identify and support middle and high school students who are on and off track for attaining postsecondary readiness and success.
AIR engaged in an evaluation of non-traditional occupations (NTOs) for women. The purpose of the NTO study was to: (1) identify barriers to NTOs and promising strategies for addressing those barriers, (2) design and implement a demonstration of a promising strategy, and (3) evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy implemented under the demonstration. The research team initiated a randomized-control trial (RCT), in which a treatment group received gender-themed recruitment content designed to increase awareness of NTOs among women and to address misperceptions women may have about NTOs and a control group received non-themed, generic recruitment content.
Through a grant with the Institute of Education Sciences, AIR's Lynn Mellor and Jason Lee are examining the implementation and outcomes associated with Texas’s enactment of a statewide policy requiring students to complete a financial aid application as a high school graduation requirement. The study aims to learn how districts are supporting students and parents regarding completing college financial aid applications and how this may lead to increased college enrollment for Texas high school students.