Projects

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.

American Institutes for Research aims to increase understanding of industry-led public-private partnerships with colleges by creating a database of these partnerships, an interactive typology and geographic map of these efforts, and a report highlighting key findings and lessons learned. The intent is to foster information-sharing and knowledge building for researchers, policy makers and funders; and build connections between postsecondary education and employers.

AIR conducted an evaluation to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Texas OnCourse online training programs, which provide instruction about preparing for high school, college, and future careers to middle school counselors and teachers. Together, the evaluation team and Texas OnCourse staff developed and employed end-of-module assessments and participant perception surveys to measure improvements in counselors’ knowledge of module content and determine program effectiveness on teacher and counselor outcomes. The aim of this research was to improve high school counselors’ awareness of college and career planning information.

In partnership with Twin Cities Public Television, the Regional Education Laboratory Midwest, operated by AIR, created a documentary that explores the unique challenges of rural Minnesotan communities and how they impact students searching and preparing for careers. The program featured two evidence-based career readiness programs in rural Minnesota: Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Wadena and Scrubs Camp in Mankato. The documentary made the connection between research and best practice and highlighted factors that contribute to success for students as they develop their future plans.

Researchers at AIR are conducting a study of adult-friendly learning models to improve understanding among stakeholders at postsecondary institutions and state system offices and policymakers about (1) What educational and training program models might best resonate with, and support access and success for, adult learners of color; and (2) how to take an asset-based approach to presenting information about program models in ways that are relevant to the strengths, motivations, and experiences of adult learners of color (particularly Black, Hispanic, and Native American adult learners.). Researchers will conduct interviews with and administer a survey to adults of color who are 1) are currently enrolled in postsecondary education; 2) have some postsecondary experience but no credential and are not currently enrolled; 3) have no recognized postsecondary education or training and may be considered current “non-consumers” of postsecondary education. Researchers will also work with a small group of external research partners on collaborative projects related to how adults of color participate in and make decisions about postsecondary education, growing the field with a more diverse and representative pool of experts.

The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, operated by AIR, created a documentary that reveals best practices for educating Latino students and preparing them for college. It highlights the predominantly Latino Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit and the College Assistance Migrant Program at Michigan State University. The goal of this work was to equip educators with the knowledge they need to tailor their Latino students’ education to reflect their cultural needs and prepare them for college and career readiness.

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.

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.

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.

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.