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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 10 research alliances:

  • Urban Research Alliance: Focused specifically on the needs of urban districts, this alliance intends to create a community of practice and build a collaborative research plan around questions related to the use of data, the evaluation of educator effectiveness, and student intervention programs. Ten urban districts are participating in this alliance.
  • Rural Research Alliance: The main goal for the Rural Research Alliance is to provide a forum for the development of a research agenda focused on rural issues as they relate to education priorities in the Midwest.
  • State Data Directors Research Alliance: This alliance is linked to the overall goal of the REL program to assist states in using their data systems and help policymakers and practitioners incorporate data-based inquiry practices into their ongoing decision making.: This alliance is linked to the overall goal of the REL program to assist states in using their data systems and help policymakers and practitioners incorporate data-based inquiry practices into their ongoing decision making.
  • Early Childhood Education Research Alliance: This alliance focuses on understanding and improving the quality of early childhood education programs.
  • Leadership for School Improvement Research Alliance: The primary goal of this alliance is to develop capacity to design and implement evidence-based school leadership programs and policies using local, state, and national data.
  • 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.
  • Teacher Effectiveness Research Alliance: This Minnesota alliance will provide research and technical assistance to evaluate and conceivably scale up effective teaching practices in the state.
  • Beating the Odds Research Alliance: This Michigan alliance will examine practice, policy, and organizational factors that may be related to success in schools that are performing better than expected given their demographic characteristics.
  • 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 Ohio alliance will focus on the statewide priority of improving student graduation, as well as reducing persistent disparities in graduation and dropout rates.

Corporate Experience

American Institutes for Research (AIR), through its merger with Learning Point Associates, 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.

Acting Lab Director:
Dean Gerdeman, 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
  • Basis Policy Research, LLC
  • Berkley Policy Associates
  • Blue Raster, LLC
  • Concentric Research and Evaluation
  • Education Development Center
  • Empirical Education Inc.
  • NORC at the University of Chicago
  • TRAC Research Group
  • University of Chicago Consortium on School Research