Areas of Expertise
Conditions for Learning
Successful schools must create and maintain effective conditions for learning. Such conditions have historically been regarded as including high-quality pedagogy, well-trained teachers, adequate resources, and effective leadership. AIR has proposed that educators also examine the social and emotional conditions for learning—the factors that ensure students feel safe and supported in school. AIR conducts research and evaluation, designs and analyzes surveys, synthesizes information, develops tools to improve, and provides consultation and technical assistance regarding student and teacher perceptions of safety, support, and connectedness; academic challenge and engagement; and individual and peer social emotional learning. AIR’s work is both national and international and includes consultation with districts, states, federal officials, and Ministries of Education regarding how to monitor and improve conditions for learning and teaching.
Wisconsin Culturally Responsive Education for All (CREATE) Initiative - Training and Enhancement Initiative
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction contracted with AIR to provide a comprehensive evaluation of its Culturally Responsive Education for All: Training and Enhancement (CREATE) initiative during its first three years of implementation. AIR employed a qualitative case study design to assess program implementation and to determine the effect participation in the CREATE initiative had on districts’ capacities to provide culturally responsive education and to implement policies and practices designed to close achievement gaps and reduce disproportionality in special education.
In this comprehensive evaluation of the Texas Principal Excellence Program (TxPEP), a set of statewide reforms aimed at developing strong and effective school leaders, AIR used a mixed-methods approach to provide the Texas Education Agency (TEA) with summative and formative feedback about the impact of TxPEP on principal leadership ability, student performance and outcomes, and teacher retention. For the summative part of the evaluation, the AIR team used a quasi-experimental interrupted time series design, controlling for differences between treatment and comparison principals, their schools, and their students with covariates.
The purpose of this report is to begin a program of research to allow us to better understand how Student Connection constructs related to other educational quality indicators, and how they can be used for school performance management.
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 2011, the Anchorage School District asked AIR to conduct a quick-turnaround analysis examining whether student responses to a particular set of items on the School Climate and Connectedness Survey were a reliable measure by which to gauge school progress in fostering students’ social and emotional learning skills and whether the measured skills were related to achievement.
The Reading First Ohio (RFO) initiative was designed to implement scientifically based research on best practices in literacy instruction to ensure that all children are able to read by the end of third grade. With our partner Westat, AIR evaluation team designed an evaluation of this statewide initiative that monitored program implementation and program effectiveness.