Projects

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.

Researchers at the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest, operated by AIR, worked with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to review college and career readiness indicators in the state. The goals of this effort were to support ADE in several areas, including developing and refining college and career readiness indicators, improving and using data systems and data visualization techniques, gaining a better understanding of the progress of their students as they prepare for college and careers, and identifying where unequal postsecondary education and employment opportunities exist for students.

The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, operated by AIR, in collaboration with the Management Performance Hub, used student demographic, academic, and financial aid variables to examine what percentage of students achieved early college success. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between receiving Pell Grants and 21st century scholarships and early college success among the 2014 cohort of Indiana public high school graduates entering public Indiana colleges in the fall after graduation from high school.

AIR conducted an analysis of student pathway choices through college and the extent to which they relate to successful degree completion and transfers from 2- to 4-year institutions. The aim of this research was to investigate and understand low college completion rates.

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, in collaboration with 2M Research and Education Strategies Group, is designing and executing the National Evaluation of Career and Technical Education Under Perkins V. The evaluation will assess the implementation of CTE under the new law, how CTE participation and outcomes are evolving over time,  and the effectiveness of CTE strategies permitted under Perkins V in improving key student outcomes. The evaluation will satisfy a legislative mandate in Perkins V and will give Congress and other policymakers a comprehensive assessment of CTE under the new law.

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 developed action-oriented summaries of existing research about approaches to competency-based or focused learning. These summaries provide employers, providers, and state policymakers with relevant information and research, with the overarching goal of supporting the design, development, facilitation, or funding of competency-based or focused learning approaches.

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.

AIR, in collaboration with Student Veterans of America, will examine veterans’ experiences with, and perceptions of, having their learning recognized by a postsecondary institution as they try to obtain a postsecondary credential. The goals of the project are to develop a better understanding of the challenges veterans face in receiving recognition of their learning by postsecondary institutions, and to inform and support institutions’ efforts to address those challenges.