Projects

AIR created an online tool that allows users in Utah to view the return on investment associated with completing a degree from a particular state institution, in a particular major, at a particular level. Researchers incorporated data from multiple sources, including statewide completion data, data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Gallup, and more, to build the tool. The goal of the tool was to present the state’s educational outcome data in a way that makes it easy for users to compare and make decisions about their educational path.

Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Gallup, AIR developed state-specific Web applications that allow students to learn more about programs of study in their state that provide preparation for growing, middle-class wage jobs. These Web applications connect prospective students to state longitudinal data related to wage outcomes of particular programs and help them calculate and understand the relationship between their desired standard of living and choices of occupations, programs, and schools.

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.

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’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 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.

Researchers at the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest, operated by AIR, conducted a study examining the impact of providing parents with an informational brochure about the role of Algebra II in college access on students’ grade 11 Algebra II completion rates in Texas. One hundred nine schools, covering all 20 Educational Service Center regions in Texas, participated in the study.

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 data collection and analysis for U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of all high schools in the country. The goal was to create a ranking system to identify the top-performing high schools that were exceeding the odds based on the students they serve. Rankings were based on state proficiency standards and the degree to which schools were preparing students for college-level work.

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.