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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin

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REL Midwest serves the educational needs of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Work focuses on four priority areas identified through a variety of needs-sensing activities across the Midwest. The four areas are educator effectiveness, college and career readiness, low-performing schools and school improvement, and early childhood education. Underlying all of the priority areas is the need for better understanding and use of the application of data.

Research Alliances

It conducts its research mission through eight research alliances:

  • College and Career Success Research Alliance: The focus of this alliance is on a better understanding of the factors that support college completion and workforce success.
  • Dropout Prevention Research Alliance: This alliance focuses on increasing student graduation rates and reducing persistent disparities in graduation and dropout rates.
  • Early Childhood Education Research Alliance: This alliance focuses on understanding and improving the quality of early childhood education programs.
  • Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance: This alliance provides research and technical assistance to identify and retain effective educators and to support state efforts to provide an excellent educator for every student.
  • Rural Research Alliance: The work of this alliance aims to increase awareness of rural-specific issues related to postsecondary access and success in the Midwest and help improve stakeholder capacity to most effectively target resources for rural populations.
  • School Turnaround Research Alliance: This alliance identifies practices, policies, and organizational variables that may be related to success in schools that are performing better than other schools with similar characteristics.
  • Urban Research Alliance: Focused specifically on the needs of urban districts, this alliance serves a community of practice to measure and test continuous improvement efforts. This alliance works to identify and develop tools to improve the feedback that school- and district-level personnel receive about teacher practices and student outcomes.
  • Virtual Education Research Alliance: The primary goals of this alliance are to (1) develop the capacity in Wisconsin and Iowa to collect and use data to implement effective high school virtual learning programs that result in improved student outcomes and (2) develop and carry out a research agenda that focuses on specific questions about student achievement and virtual learning conditions, particularly regarding methods through which online teachers and school staff can support student success in online courses.

Corporate Experience

American Institutes for Research (AIR) has a major Midwest presence. With more than 150 employees based in the Midwest and a history of operating the Midwest's regional educational laboratory for more than 25 years, AIR has worked with state education agencies, governors' offices, and districts and schools to isolate cross-cutting priorities and needs and identify efficient methods for addressing them.

Lab Director:
Julie Reed Kochanek, Ph.D.
Governing Board

American Institutes for Research (AIR)
1120 East Diehl Road
Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: (866) 730-6735, (630) 649-6500
Fax: 630-649-6700
  • BasBasis Policy Research, LLC
  • Blue Raster, LLC
  • Concentric Research and Evaluation
  • Education Development Center
  • Impaq International, LLC
  • Empirical Education Inc.
  • NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Policy Studies Associates
  • TRAC Research Group
  • University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri
  • WestEd