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American Institutes for Research

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American Institutes for Research

American Institutes for Research
Motto Making research relevant
Founded 1946
Founder John C. Flanagan
Type Nonprofit research, assessment, and technical assistance organization
Focus Education, educational assessment, health, human development, international development, work and training
  • Washington, D.C.
Origins Critical Incident Technique, Project Talent
Area served Primarily United States
Key people John C. Flanagan, David Myers (current president and CEO)
Employees More than 1,600
Mission AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.

American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonprofit, [1] AIR has 1,700 employees providing research, assessment, and technical assistance in seven program areas: AIR Assessment; Education; Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Educational Research; Health and Social Development; International Development, Evaluation and Research; and Workforce and Lifelong Learning.[3]

AIR's founder, John C. Flanagan, a pioneer in aviation psychology,[4] is known for developing the Critical Incident Technique, an innovative method for screening and selecting personnel. Flanagan and AIR are known for Project Talent, the largest and most comprehensive study of high school students ever conducted in the United States; core evaluations for U.S. Department of Education programs, including major assessments of the No Child Left Behind Act,[5] Title I, Title III and others; Project A, the largest personnel survey in the history of the U.S. Army; [6] and partnering with states to provide student assessment testing design and administration to schools across the U.S.;[7][8] among many other projects and services.

In 2010[9] and 2011,[10] The Washington Post selected AIR as one of the top ten nonprofit firms in the Washington metropolitan area.


AIR founder [12][13][14][15]

After leaving the army, Flanagan established American Institutes for Research in 1946.[16] He focused on education research and launched Project Talent, a longitudinal study following 400,000 high school students across the U.S.,[17] which has continued for the past 50 years and provided data for hundreds of researchers and publications.[18][19]

Today, AIR continues to use Flanagan's research principles in areas beyond aviation and education, including health and [20]

Mission statement

"AIR's mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples' lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged."[21]

Program areas

AIR Assessment

Educational assessment develops student tests, score reports, and online reporting tools for students, teachers, parents, and administrators in states across the U.S. Psychometricians and statisticians provide data and analysis for policy and curriculum decisions.

Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research

Analyzing state longitudinal administrative data to examine how education policies affect outcomes for students and teachers. CALDER is a joint project with researchers at seven universities: Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Missouri–Columbia, Texas at Dallas, and Washington.[22]


This program evaluates interventions and develops technologies, programs, and aptitude tests for students at all levels, including higher education and adult education, and members of the workforce. It also runs technical assistance centers, such as the National High School Center.

Health and Social Development

The program works within and across the health care and public health systems, behavioral/mental health, as well as human services with a goal of improving lives and creating positive outcomes.

International Development, Evaluation and Research (IDER)

International Development works in education, health, and child well being in developing countries, including multiple projects in educational opportunities for girls in developing countries.

Workforce and Lifelong Learning

Workforce supports the development of high-performance individuals, teams, and organizations through innovative research and the application of evidence-based practices.[23]


Education researcher David Myers is AIR's president and CEO and serves on its board of directors. Previously, Myers served as senior vice president and director of the Education, Human Development and Workforce program. He came to AIR from Mathematica Policy Research, where he was senior vice president and chief strategy officer.[24][25]

AIR has several vice presidents leading its programs and services. The twelve-member board of directors is led by chair Patricia B. Gurin, professor of social psychology at University of Michigan and vice chair Lawrence D. Bobo, a professor of social sciences at Harvard University.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Post 200: American Institutes for Research". The Washington Post. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "AIR: Locations". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "AIR: About Us". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "John C. Flannery". American Psychological Association. 
  5. ^ "State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, 2001". U.S. Department of Education. 
  6. ^ "Improving the Selection, Classification, and Utilization of Army Enlisted Personnel: Final Report on Project A". U.S. Department of Defense Technical Information Center. August 1991. 
  7. ^ "Minnesota Assessments". Minnesota Department of Education. 
  8. ^ "Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills". Oregon Department of Education. 
  9. ^ "Post 200: Nonprofits". The Washington Post. 27 December 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Post 200: Nonprofits". The Washington Post. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Freeman, Karen (28 April 1996). "John Flanagan, 90, Psychologist Who Devised Pilot Aptitude Test". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Gremler, Dwayne D. "The Critical Incident Technique in Service Research". Journal of Service Research, Volume 7, No. 1, August 2004 65-89. 
  13. ^ Fivars, Grace & Robert Fitzpatrick, Ph. D. "The Critical Incident Technique Bibliography". American Psychological Association. 
  14. ^ Fivars, Grace & Robert Fitzpatrick, Ph. D. "The Critical Incident Technique Bibliography - Complete List". American Psychological Association. 
  15. ^ Kennedy, Carrie H. and Eric Zillmer (2012). Military Psychology, Second Edition: Clinical And Operational Applications. The Guilford Press. pp. 114–125. 
  16. ^ Zimmerman, Barry J. and Dale H. Schunk (2003). Educational Psychology: A Century of Contributions. Taylor & Francis Group.  
  17. ^ "Education: Talent Census". Time Magazine. 24 August 1962. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Project Talent: Bibliography". Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  19. ^ Murray, Charles (2006).  
  20. ^ "AIR: A Sample of Clients AIR Serves". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "AIR: Mission and Vision". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "CALDER Center: About CALDER". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "About AIR: Our Programs". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "David Myers, Nationally Recognized Education Researcher, Joins AIR as Senior Vice President". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "Profile: David Myers". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "About AIR: Leadership". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
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