Areas of Expertise
Evaluation of Educational Programs and Policies
AIR is a national leader in identifying and evaluating education environments and systems both locally and nationally. We help stakeholders determine which policies and practices are most effective in their schools and communities. AIR provides a range of program assessment and evaluation tasks, including: developing evaluation plans; training; technical assistance; formative research; survey design and analysis; and process and outcome evaluations.
This latest report for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation examines how Early College Schools (ECS) can best prepare high school students for college success. The report presents findings from high school and college instructional data collected during site visits to ECS classrooms in the 2008–09 academic year, as part of the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI).
A report from AIR and Noel-Levitz investigates the relationship between levels of financial aid and student success in Louisiana community colleges, with a focus on Pell Grant recipients. Success is measured by whether a student earned a certificate or an associate’s degree within three years of enrolling as a first-time full-time student or transferred to a four-year Louisiana university within the same timeframe.
The Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative, part of the larger federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided an unprecedented amount of federal competitive grant funding to push educational systems toward innovation through the use of coherent and comprehensive reforms. AIR is conducting a mixed-method evaluation for the state of Hawaii, examining the extent to which the state’s RTTT program has been implemented as planned and is meeting its key benchmarks, especially for RTTT resource usage and participation. AIR evaluators are analyzing which changes in policy and professional practice have been associated with implementation as well as the resulting impact on student performance. The evaluation is providing timely, actionable information, supporting continuous improvement and enabling RTTT leaders, participants, and stakeholders to judge the value and worth of the initiative and its components.
The policy work of the Center for English Language Learners currently focuses on analysis of state and federal policies and assistance to federal and state policymakers on issues relevant to ELLs.
Evaluation of the Massachusetts Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL) Initiative
In order to improve instruction for ELLs, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has recently an initiative under which all core academic teachers in the state are required to complete comprehensive professional development in Sheltered English Instruction methods by July 2016. AIR has evaluated the pilot professional development program and will be evaluating the implementation of the first year of the full roll-out of the program.
AIR is conducting the independent evaluation of The New Teacher Project’s Teacher Effectiveness and Certification (TEACh) Initiative. The initiative focuses on preparing teachers for high-needs placements in urban schools and includes pre-service training, in-service training, and assessments of teacher effectiveness.