At a Glance: AIR in 2018

As the new year begins, we reflect on the efforts of our Professional Services Division to further AIR’s mission of conducting and applying the best behavioral and social science research, evaluation, and technical assistance towards improving people's lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged. Here are just a few highlights of this work across 2018, along with links to related resources for researchers and practitioners.

Improving Education Outcomes

  • We continued our school improvement work through the Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs), and the Illinois Center for School Improvement (CSI):
  • The College and Career Readiness and Success Center focused on work-based learning and employability skills; the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL) expanded its national work on teacher recruitment, induction, and mentoring. AIR’s four regional centers (Great Lakes, Midwest, Southeast, and Texas) began analyzing and addressing equitable access to effective teachers and leaders, resources and opportunities, fair discipline policies, and equitable outcomes for all learners.
  • Watch videos documenting REL Midwest’s work across a variety of topics.
    REL Midwest continued to work in partnership with practitioners and policymakers across the region on meaningful coaching, research, and communications projects. Highlights include: a series of trainings for 350 kindergarten teachers on how to administer a new entry assessment; a literature review and companion video on strategies to improve black student success; and a coaching session with the Ohio Department of Education staff on identifying evidence-based practices.  
  • Explore REL Southwest’s work on noncognitive factors, school environments, and high school transitions in this video. 
    REL Southwest successfully launched six new collaborative research partnerships with state education agencies that included: addressing the needs of EL students in New Mexico; using College and Career Ready indicators in Arkansas; using Title IV funds to address the whole child as well as early childhood education needs in Oklahoma; and working on a statewide teacher residency program in Louisiana and school improvement efforts in Texas.
  • Watch Illinois CSI director Betheny Lyke discuss restorative justice practices.
    Illinois CSI, operated by AIR, improved the standing of 54% of the state’s lowest-performing schools; 38% moved from “lowest performing” to “commendable” status.


Check out AIR Principal Researcher Joshua Polanin’s conversation with the Campbell Corporation about meta-analysis
  • In 2018, we began overseeing the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) website, databases, and communication efforts. We also have convened a group of methodological experts to regularly discuss advancements in WWC standards and approaches.
  • See how NAEP measures access to and familiarity with technology for their transition to a digitally based exam.
    We assisted the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) by preparing for and supporting administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to 140,000 students in grades four, eight, and 12.
  • Learn how Honduras, supported by AIR, is working to improve education quality through sharing local stories.
    In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we assessed early grade reading and English language learning at 198 schools in Ethiopia.


Enhancing the Health and Well-Being of Children and Families

Equipping the Workforce of Today and the Future