AIR, in collaboration with Quality Education for Minorities and the Kapor Center, is examining learning environments that enable undergraduate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to thrive and subsequently attain doctoral degrees in science and engineering (S&E). The goals of the study are to (a) identify unique characteristics of S&E learning environments at the 21 HBCUs ranked as top producers of Black baccalaureate degree recipients who earn S&E doctorates (“anchor institutions”), (b) identify HBCUs that have similar characteristics as the anchor institutions and have a high potential to graduate students who go on to earn doctoral degrees, and (c) develop and disseminate a model that builds HBCU capacity to produce graduates who go on to earn S&E doctorates. Click here to access the project website.
One common approach to helping students who have been assessed as needing developmental education is corequisite remediation, where students enroll directly in college-level courses while receiving concurrent and aligned developmental educational support. There are numerous corequisite education models (for example, paired courses or tutoring), each designed to support students in passing college-level courses while avoiding the delays associated with prerequisite developmental courses. This brief from MDRC describes lessons from the emerging research examining the effects of corequisite education.
American Institutes for Research is supporting the Technical Assistance team at the Center for Innovation in Postsecondary Education at the University of South Alabama in building the capacity of five HBCUs in North Carolina to serve black adult learners. AIR is helping the TA team build content via webinars about data use and data driven decision making and facilitating conversations about strategic goals and needs of campus staff and faculty to understand capacity needs. The goals of the project is to change policy and practices that support removing barriers for black adult learners to complete a postsecondary credential.
The project seeks to determine the differential cost of providing an equal educational opportunity to community college students from different backgrounds to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in order to support legislative policy debate surrounding reform of the public community college funding system in Texas. To determine the cost, the team at AIR is conducting a cost function analysis to estimate the cost of generating outcomes of community college students in Texas.
This commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education features remarks from AIR senior researcher Kelle Parsons on enrollment resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic among competency-based education programs.
During a meeting with senior U.S. Department of Education leaders, AIR's Irma Perez-Johnson and Alexandria Radford offered four ways to scale and use evidence-based strategies to improve postsecondary education outcomes for today’s students.
AIR is conducting a consensus study on behalf of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Defense Research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Other Minority Institutions (MIs) that will examine the status of Department of Defense (DoD) research at HBCUs and other MIs. The goal of the study is to gain understanding of the methods and means necessary to advance research capacity at these institutions to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.
In 2022, Ascendium will launch an open Request for Proposals (RFP) aimed at addressing gaps in evidence for strategies that support rural learners from low-income backgrounds in earning degrees and credentials with labor market value. Through this RFP, Ascendium has committed funding for 8-10 projects, employing a diverse mix of research methods and subjects, that respond to one or more overarching research question themes. To optimize the design, implementation, and cross-project learning potential of this initiative, Ascendium awarded a grant to AIR to serve as an intermediary partner to support RFP design, grant management, and synthesis of insights across the funded multi-faceted research efforts.
AIR staff support the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and recently we created a resource page on the IPEDS data collection and release process. The page also provides guidance for data reporters and users on issues related to survey components and web tools for data analyses.
Evaluation of the Texas House Bill 3 Financial Aid Application Requirement for High School Graduation
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.
Investigating the Capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Develop, Accommodate, and Graduate Low-Income STEM Students
AIR has partnered with Quality Education for Minorities to expand effective strategies to support talented, low-income students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). For this new National Science Foundation-funded project, AIR's Jennifer Hudson and Mahlet Megra will lead mixed-methods research on the capacity of HBCUs to develop, accommodate, and graduate STEM students.
On February 23, 2022 the AIR Equity Initiative hosted the second in a series of equity-focused roundtable discussions. A panel was followed by a Q&A with experts who explored approaches to reducing bias and promoting diversity and inclusion within organizations and in grant-making and policymaking processes. The experts and AIR staff discussed how these approaches can enhance research and technical assistance and improve policy.
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.
AIR is supporting the implementation of the National Survey of Postsecondary Competency-Based Education, an annual Web-based survey of postsecondary institutions in the United States geared toward assessing the state of the competency-based education (CBE) field. The goals of this project are to grow the community of researchers within the National Research Collaborative on Postsecondary Competency-Based Education and Learning and build rigorous evidence for CBE’s efficacy to support responsible scaling. Click here for the latest infographic.
This journal article used a systematic review methodology to identify and summarize findings from studies that examined the effects of losing grant aid due to policy changes and students’ failure to meet renewal requirements. The studies reviewed show negative effects on student outcomes when grant aid was reduced or eliminated.
In a recent virtual event, College Promise hosted a panel featuring top academic voices to discuss this disconnect. The panel heard from CARPE Director, Alexandria Walton Radford, and other experts on top priorities for research in the field, including economic benefits from a national, federal, and state partnership, the future of the workforce, and how this affects postsecondary education and underemployment amongst college graduates.
Washington's College Bound Scholarship Program and its Effect on College Entry, Persistence, and Completion
This study examined Washington's College Bound Scholarship program and how it affected college entry, persistence, and completion. The study found that the scholarship program shifted enrollment from out-of-state to in-state colleges at which the scholarship could be used.
The Effects of Middle School Remediation on Postsecondary Success: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida
This study from the CALDER Center examines the short-, medium-, and long-term effects of remedial courses in middle school using a regression discontinuity design. While the short-term test score benefits of taking a remedial course in English language arts in middle school fade quickly, the study found significant positive effects on the likelihood of taking college credit-bearing courses in high school, college enrollment, enrolling in more selective colleges, persistence in college, and degree attainment.
Researchers from AIR administered a survey to participants of the Keystone Scholars program, a statewide Child Development Account (CDA) program created by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department. The aims of the study were to capture parents’ expectations for their child’s educational future within the first year of their child’s life and to gather information on parents’ financial knowledge, assets, and savings behavior, as well as demographic information.
AIR, under a grant funded by Walmart, conducted a scan of free college tuition program websites in spring 2021. This scan culminated in a project website, which contains an interactive map, a report, a downloadable database of programs, and a webinar that explores how free college tuition programs for adults might better leverage employers in establishing and advancing programs.