AIR 2019 Highlights: Advancing Equity Through Evidence

Equity is at the heart of AIR’s mission to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving people's lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged. In 2019, AIR’s experts contributed evidence and insights in support of equal access to a good education, quality health care services, and robust opportunities in the workforce. Learn how AIR’s mission-focused work in research, evaluation, and technical assistance is seeking to improve people’s lives across the U.S. and around the world.


Early College, Continued Success: Longer Term Impacts of Early College High Schools

Early College High School programs offer high school students academic rigor and early exposure to higher education. This federally funded study builds on the first two evaluations of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Early College High School Initiative.

Infographic: How Did Early College High Schools Affect Students' Postsecondary Outcomes?

BARR Model classroom with studentsBuilding Assets and Reducing Risks (BARR) Validation Study: Final Report

BARR is a comprehensive, strength-based approach that uses eight interlocking strategies to build intentional staff-to-staff, staff-to-student, and student-to-student relationships in secondary schools. Read the final report of a large-scale independent evaluation of the BARR model in ninth grade in eleven high schools in Maine, California, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Texas.

Inclusive Technology in a 21st Century Learning System

Technology is a part of nearly every aspect of our daily lives—including the public education system. AIR, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and more than 10 other organizations collaborated on the development of publications that will support 21st century learning. These resources will ensure educational technology conception, design, procurement, use, and evaluation close, not widen, opportunity gaps between students with and without disabilities.

Image of man on a bench with his arm around a boyChronic Absence: Busting Myths and Helping Educators Develop More Effective Responses

Regularly missing school increases the likelihood that children will be unable to read well by grade 3, fail classes in middle school, and drop out of high school. Standing in the way of truly addressing chronic absence are three harmful myths.

NCES Data Point: Adult English Literacy in the United States

The ability to read and understand basic texts is vital in modern society. A National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Data Point shows that one in five adults in the United States have low English literacy skills, meaning that they would have difficulty understanding, evaluating, using, or engaging with written texts.

Infographic: How Many U.S. Adults Have Low English Literacy Skills?

ESSA Action Guide coverESSA Action Guides

As states continue to implement Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) programs, AIR is providing a series of action guides to support and inform education leaders. Each guide provides specific steps leaders can follow—and a list of helpful resources—to guide them through implementing different elements of ESSA. The first two guides cover Selecting Evidence-Based Practices for Low-Performing Schools and Using ESSA to Improve School Funding Fairness.

Four Ways AIR Experts Are Innovating Survey Methodology

A scientific, research-based survey is one of the most unbiased, methodical ways to collect and understand human behavior and opinion. With response rates on the decline, AIR researchers Michael Jackson and Cameron McPhee have conducted research exploring ways to predict survey response, including strategies to boost participation among those least likely to respond. Here, they offer four takeaways from their work.

Understanding Educational Inequality by Revisiting Civil Rights History

Educational equity means that all students, regardless of circumstances or location, have equal access to opportunities to succeed in the classroom and beyond. A group of AIR staff and clients participated in a civil rights learning journey across the South to better understand how the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s affects educational opportunities today.



Image of Indian women in brightly colored sarisWomen's Empowerment Collectives Research Consortium

Women and girls in low-and middle-income countries face societal and structural barriers related to education, employment, and health status. To counter these challenges, governments, development agencies, and nongovernmental organizations have invested in different types of women’s empowerment collectives, including economic self-help group programs and women’s groups practicing participatory learning and action.

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic Through Research and Patient Care

Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar, director of AIR’s Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions (AIR CARES) and a practicing physician at Heartland Alliance Health in Chicago, discusses her personal experience in treating patients with addiction and how research can help tackle the opioid epidemic.


Checking in on Project Talent with AIR Vice President Susan Lapham

Project Talent is the largest, most comprehensive study of high school students ever conducted in the United States. Since its launch in 1960, researchers have continued to collect data on the original participants and now its data are helping AIR researchers study possible risk and protective factors of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Susan Lapham, Project Talent director and AIR vice president, answered a few questions about the project, its history, and its potential influence.

A Public Health Approach to School Bullying: A Q&A with Xan Young

Bullying has serious implications for the health and development of children and youth. Xan Young, senior technical assistance consultant, directs the Violence Prevention Technical Assistance Center, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this Q&A, Young shares her insights on bullying and AIR’s work on this issue.

Student Bullying and Perceptions of Power Imbalance

Image of older couple looking at papers with a health professionalThe Quest to Connect Patient and Family Engagement to Health Care Quality and Safety

AIR has been a leader in the evolution of patient and family engagement as a key quality improvement strategy. In this Q&A, Thomas Workman, principal researcher, shares his insights about the current state of health care safety and patient and family engagement—and where we’re headed.



Do U.S. Adults Have the Skills Needed to Thrive in the 21st Century? Four PIAAC Studies by AIR

Successfully navigating work and life requires key skills—and the ability to adapt to a fast-changing, digital world. A major source for valid, reliable, and actionable data to inform adult education and training is the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Here, AIR experts highlight findings from four PIAAC studies.

Infographic: 32 million U.S. adults are not digitally literate

A Quick Word with Stephanie Cronen on the National Study of the Implementation of Adult Education

The U.S. Department of Education commissioned AIR to conduct a national study to evaluate how adult education operates at the state and local levels, including who adult education providers are, the services they provide, and the challenges they face. Managing researcher Stephanie Cronen answered some questions about adult education and what the study aims to accomplish.

How Can Behavioral Insights Improve Public Services and Policies?

Behavioral insights draw on psychology, cognitive science, social science, and research to understand how people make decisions. In this video, principal researcher Samia Amin explains why the use of behavioral insights has become increasingly important in the public sector.

A Quick Word with Katherine Hughes on Career and Technical Education

Career and technical education (CTE) continues to gain traction with state and national policymakers, researchers, and educators across the country—evidenced by the creation of a federally funded center investigating CTE programs: the Career and Technical Education Research Network. AIR is leading this research network partnership under the direction of principal researcher Katherine Hughes, who answered a few questions about CTE, the research network, and her background.

disabled man in shoe storeDisability Employment Awareness

One in five people in the American workforce has some form of disability, and inclusive workforces can benefit from their skills and talents. AIR’s disability and rehabilitation work aims to support people with disabilities in creating career pathways, pursuing employment opportunities, and gaining economic security.