Program areas at AIR
During 2019 air conducted its activities through the following three programs: professional services, grantmaking and student assessment. Effective december 31, 2019, air sold the student assessment division. See schedule o for more information.prior to being divested, the assessment division provided student assessment services. Collaborating with states and districts, it developed and deployed cognitive assessment programs to yield information about student progress. the program fused statistics, technology, and standards-aligned content into k-12 formative, summative, and supplemental products and services primarily delivered using online methods. (continued on schedule o)the division also studied the validity of assessments performed by federal, state and local education agencies. the information and analyses enabled schools and education oversight agencies with the ability to measure compliance with requirements of federal and state education standards and laws. This program pioneered and led in the delivery of on-line, computer-based, adaptive testing. the program also served students with physical and cognitive disabilities via alternative assessments.
the grantmaking activities carry out board designations from a portion of the fund balance being set aside to act as a quasi-endowment. the purpose of the quasi-endowment is 1) to ensure long-term, future financial strength of air based on established covenants, 2) to support the needs of major non-recurring transactions such as loan collateralization to support a merger or acquisition and 3) to fund grant-making initiatives that carry out air's mission that are otherwise not funded from third-party sources.specifically, with regard to the third purpose above, the board of directors oversees policy that authorizes the annual expenditure of a portion of the (continued on schedule o) quasi-endowment to make awards for restricted Research grants on selected topics. the board approves the general areas of Research featured for grant award. the amount of the annual appropriation is determined with the intention of maintaining the inflation-adjusted purchasing power of the quasi-endowment and is based on its trailing thirty-six month fair market value. Grant applicants are required to submit proposals detailing the Research activities to be supported by the grant if awarded. A panel of experts reviews grant applications related to the selected Research and technical assistance areas aligned to air's mission and makes funding recommendations to air's executive committee for approval by the board of directors. After award, grant recipients are required to comply with obligations to provide periodic and final progress reports related to the grant activities, expenditures and accomplishments.
the professional services division activities range from Research and evaluation to technical assistance in policy, practice and systems change. the Research and evaluation work is grounded in evidence and pairs the best methodological and statistical science with subject matter expertise that can be used to shape and inform stakeholder programs and policymakers. Examples of focus areas spanning the life course of indiviuals include early childhood education, language acquisition and literacy, special education, school climate and turnaround, teacher effectiveness, career readiness, adult learning, patient-centered health outcomes, mental health supports, juvenile justice and aging. (continued on schedule o) to support evidence-based decision-making; solve important Research questions; and address program and intervention implementation effectiveness and build capacity to improve processes, outcomes, and sustainability Research activities that also make use of: - state-of-the-art design, analysis, and reporting methodologies, including rapid-cycle and randomized controlled trials - survey and acquisition methodologies for collecting data to inform Research - efficient and effective analytic tools and techniques - statistical and social science methodologies. Air's activities that are focused on policy, practice and systems change also use evidence-based methods and strategies to create and improve information available for use by legislative, policy making or public practitioner communities. the work aims to strengthen the knowledge, skills and repeatable infrastructures used in program administration by public-facing clients. the activities involved in this work also include: - systematic literature reviews to identify and analyze existing Research, in order to disseminate findings that inform social science practices. - the design, implementation, and evaluation of communication and behavior change campaigns to motivate and support people in adopting healthy behaviors and to address issues such as hiv-aids prevention, opioid abuse prevention, tobacco cessation and abstinence, obesity prevention and management, and child protection. - the facilitation of systems change, including the improvement of education in the nation's poorest districts, working with juvenile justice agencies to prevent recidivism, and partnering with ministries of education and nongovernmental organizations abroad to improve basic literacy and early reading skills. - the design and execution of pay for success programs that partner public and private stakeholders on innovative approaches to address social problems such as homelessness, disadvantaged communities, and language acquisition for english learners. - the use of technology as an integral component of our service delivery strategies in response to website functionality, distance learning, digital and social media, and geospatial information systems.