Areas of Expertise
Understanding and improving classroom instruction is a central component of many of AIR’s evaluation and technical assistance projects. AIR designs high- and low-inference classroom observation tools and, using highly trained observers, conducts observations in a variety of classroom settings. Data on classroom instruction are integrated into recommendations for improving schools and classrooms.
The final report of a study of teacher preparation in early reading instruction describes pre-service teachers' perceptions about the content of their training programs and summarizes their scores on an assessment of their knowledge of the essential components of reading instruction, as defined in the Reading First legislation.
Expectations and Reports of Homework for Public School Students in the First, Third, and Fifth Grades
This Issue Brief reports that the amount of reading and mathematics homework that students' teachers expected them to complete on a typical evening generally increased from first grade to fifth grade. Children in schools with higher percentages of minority students had teachers who expected more homework on a typical evening compared to children in lower minority schools. In addition, in all three grades, larger percentages of Black, Asian, and Hispanic children than White children had parents who reported that their child did homework five or more times a week.
Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement Report
To help states and districts make informed decisions about the professional development (PD) they implement to improve reading instruction, the U.S. Department of Education commissioned the Early Reading PD Interventions Study to examine the impact of two research-based PD interventions for reading instruction. This report describes the implementation of the PD interventions tested, and examines their impacts at the end of the year the PD was delivered.
The Wisconsin Reading Excellence and Demonstration of Success (READS) initiative was launched by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 1999–2000 in an effort to positively affect student reading achievement and reduce the number of referrals to special education in READS-funded schools through the implementation of comprehensive reading programs. This four-year comprehensive evaluation of the READS initiative includes both qualitative case studies and longitudinal analysis of student demographic and achievement data and special education referral rates.
In 2008, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) launched a diagnostic assessment program in which teachers administer commercially available interim assessments to their students—mCLASS in Grades K–2 and Acuity in Grades 3–8. IDOE and AIR collaborated to test the hypothesis that teachers who frequently use objective data to monitor student progress to guide their choices about instruction will produce students who perform better on state assessments. In addition, a rich array of interviews, surveys, teacher logs, and observations are being used to measure and describe fidelity of implementation. IDOE will use the findings to adjust and refine the initiative, and other local, state, and federal policymakers will have access to the results to inform their own decisions about using assessment levers to accelerate school improvement.
A variety of health, wellness, and school climate issues interact to either support or undermine student performance in school. To track these factors, the Ohio Department of Education contracted with AIR to develop and administer the Ohio Healthy Schools Profile System, which supports data collection, analysis, and reporting of health risk and protective factors that affect student learning.