News Release

Innovations in College and Career Readiness Improve Outcomes for Students in Rural Tennessee

Arlington, Va. – Students in rural northeast Tennessee have benefited from an Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the Niswonger Foundation, according to a new report released by CNA Education.

In 2010, the Niswonger Foundation received a five-year i3 grant to create the Northeast Tennessee College and Career Ready Consortium of 29 high schools and five colleges. The Consortium aimed to improve students’ college and career readiness by:

  • Expanding access to rigorous courses, including through distance and online learning.
  • Forming college partnerships to boost dual enrollment.
  • Offering professional development for teachers.
  • Providing college and career counseling to students.

CNA Education examined the impact of the intervention on student outcomes after up to four full years of exposure to the intervention.

"We compared participating schools with matched schools with similar characteristics within the state of Tennessee that did not participate in the Consortium," said CNA Senior Research Scientist Christine Mokher. "We also examined the extent to which the components of the Consortium were implemented as originally intended in the grant application."

The evaluation found that the Niswonger Foundation i3 grant had statistically significant effects on student outcomes for:

  • College readiness (after three years of exposure).
  • Advanced Placement (AP) participation (after two, three and four years of exposure).
  • AP performance (after three and four years of exposure).
  • College enrollment (after three years of exposure).
  • College persistence (after two and three years of exposure).

A snapshot of report highlights can be found here. To review the full report, click here. For more information about this report, contact Liza Cordeiro at or (202) 650-4456.

CNA is a nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. With nearly 700 scientists, analysts and professional staff, CNA takes a real-world approach to gathering data. Its one-of-a-kind field program places analysts on carriers and military bases, in squad rooms and classrooms, and working side-by-side with a wide array of government decision-makers around the world. In addition to defense-related matters for the U.S. Department of the Navy, CNA’s research portfolio includes criminal justice, homeland security, energy security, water resources, enterprise systems and data analysis, and education.

Note to writers and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as "CNA, a research organization in Arlington, VA."


Christine LaPaille
Director of Communications
3003 Washington Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201