Projects

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.

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.

AIR is partnering with Fisk and Vanderbilt Universities to research and disseminate information about the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program, an initiative that supports diversity and inclusion in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) postsecondary programs. The overarching goal of this grant is to generate and share knowledge about best practices to promote broad participation of students who are underrepresented within the higher education community.

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.

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’s work with the College Completion Network brings together research teams to share ideas, build knowledge, conduct sound research, and share findings about postsecondary success. The Network’s goals include evaluating promising interventions related to college completion, building knowledge about college completion and postsecondary success, providing policymakers and college leaders with reliable evidence, and strengthening the work of Network research teams through collaboration.

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 are supporting the University System of Georgia (USG) in an evaluation of student motivations toward entering into technical fields. This project aims to help USG understand how postsecondary students—particularly women and students of color—learn about, understand, and take interest in high-demand, technical degree program offerings. This study, along with additional efforts by USG, will help it reach its ultimate goal of increasing the number of women and people of color who know about and engage in a USG offering that prepares for a career in those sectors.

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.