Areas of Expertise
Teacher Preparation and Professional Development
AIR is widely respected for its contributions to the policy discussions around teacher preparation and professional development, including alternative ways of measuring teacher effectiveness and changes in the teaching workforce related to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). We have:
- conducted multi-year evaluations of traditional and alternate route teacher preparation;
- national studies of the impact of professional development on teacher knowledge, practice, and student achievement; and
- research on teacher assignments and student work.
This paper addresses the teachers’ use of educational research to improve their instructional practice. Based on two qualitative, exploratory studies AIR conducted in the Chicago metropolitan area between 2008 and 2011, researchers found that teachers do appreciate and use research when there is a pressing need.
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.
Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation
This study examines the impact of intensive mathematics professional development (PD) on teachers' knowledge and teaching skills for 7th grade mathematics in rational number topics such as fractions, decimals, percent, ratio, and proportion. The intensive PD studied includes over 100 hours of support in the form of summer institutes, seminars, and in-school coaching.
Evaluation of the Massachusetts Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL) Initiative
In order to improve instruction for ELLs in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has recently introduced the Rethinking Equity and Teaching of English Language Learners (RETELL) initiative. Under this initiative, 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 that was initiated under RETELL in Fall 2012 and will be evaluating the implementation of the first year of the full roll-out of the program.
August is Connected Educator Month, an effort by the U.S. Department of Education to encourage teachers and school administrators across the country to participate in online learning communities and networks to enhance their professional development. AIR is supporting the month-long endeavor by coordinating more than 250 events, including online forums, webinars, blog discussions, online chats, podcasts and other interactive options that explore online learning issues.