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Adapting Pedagogy to Cultural Context
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This paper argues that many pedagogical reform efforts falter because they fail to consider the cultural context of teacher and student behavior. Little guidance exists on how to adapt teaching practices to be compatible with culturally influenced behaviors and beliefs. We present evidence from three studies conducted as part of a large basic education program in Tanzania showing that some teaching activities are less effective or not well implemented because of culturally influenced behaviors in the classroom, namely children’s lack of confidence to speak up in class; a commitment to togetherness, fairness, and cooperation; avoidance of embarrassment; and age-graded authority. We propose ways teaching activities can be adapted to take these behaviors into account while still adhering to fundamental principles of effective learning, including student participation in their own learning, teaching at the right level, and monitoring students as a basis for adjusting instruction. Such adaptations may be made most effective by engaging teachers in co-creation of teaching activities.

Subject:
Education
Elementary Education
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Occasional Paper Series
Author:
Jovina J. Tibenda
Matthew C. H. Jukes
Yasmin Sitabkhan
Date Added:
09/24/2021
Are You Ready for This? Preparing for School Change by Assessing Readiness
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Schools routinely face federal and state mandated changes, like the Common Core State Standards or standardized testing requirements. Sometimes districts and schools want to take on new policies and practices of their own, like anti-bullying programs or using technology to deliver instruction. Regardless of the origin of the change, implementation requires them to take on additional work; yet experts estimate that only 30 to 50 percent of major change efforts in organizations will succeed. Failing change efforts result in not only financial losses but also lowered organizational morale, wasted resources, and lost opportunities. For schools where resources are already stretched thin, the consequences of failed change initiatives can be particularly devastating. In this paper, we discuss results of a study, over a school year, of school principals who were working on implementing a new change initiative in their schools. We apply lessons from the change management literature and focus on the importance of assessing readiness for change as a key step in ensuring the success of new initiatives. We share examples of a change readiness rubric to help schools and districts successfully lead change.

Subject:
Education
Elementary Education
Higher Education
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Policy Brief Series
Author:
Elizabeth Glennie
Katherine McKnight
Date Added:
03/18/2019
Cannabidiol: Science, Marketing, and Legal Perspectives
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Recent loosening of legal restrictions on cannabis and its chemical constituents, including phytocannabinoids such as ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), has led to rapid proliferation and wide availability of products containing CBD. Although using pure CBD does not result in THC-like intoxication, it is not risk-free. In this review, we examine CBD from scientific, marketing, and regulatory perspectives. Specifically, we evaluate the evidence used to support statements concerning CBD’s real and putative medical effects and discuss misleading information that has been used in marketing approaches. Also, we explore the current legal landscape surrounding CBD. We conclude that further research is necessary to clarify legitimate therapeutic effects of CBD. Federal regulation is also necessary to assure quality, safety, and efficacy of CBD products. Until new regulations are enacted to ensure purity and label accuracy, consumers should balance any perceived benefits of CBD use against potential risks associated with using products of unknown quality.

Subject:
Applied Science
Health, Medicine, and Nursing
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Occasional Paper Series
Author:
Brian F. Thomas
Camille K. Gourdet
Jenny L. Wiley
Date Added:
04/20/2020
Curbing the Spread of Misinformation: Insights, Innovations, and Interpretations from the Misinformation Solutions Forum
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Although many people now have access to more accumulated information than has ever been the case in human existence, we also now face a moment when the proliferation of misinformation, or false or inaccurate information, poses major challenges. In response to these challenges and to build collaboration across disciplines and expertise and a more effective community of learning and practice, the Rita Allen Foundation partnered with RTI International and the Aspen Institute along with Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Democracy Fund, and Burroughs Wellcome Fund to hold the Misinformation Solutions Forum in October 2018 at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. This forum brought together academic researchers, technology professionals, data scientists, journalists, educators, community leaders, funders and a set of graduate student fellows to explore promising ideas for curbing the spread of misinformation. We issued an open call for ideas to be featured in the forum that sought interventions focused on reducing behaviors that lead to the spread of misinformation or encouraging behaviors that can lead to the minimization of its influence. Interventions with technological, educational, and/or community-based components were encouraged, as were projects involving science communication, public health and diverse populations. A panel of expert judges assessed submissions through a blind review process; judges included representatives from the Rita Allen Foundation, as well as external institutions such as the Democracy Fund, the National Institutes of Health, the Poynter Institute, First Draft, and academic institutions. Authors developed the essays presented here based on both original submissions and the iterative collaboration process that ensued.

Subject:
Business and Communication
Communication
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Conference Proceedings Series
Author:
Brian G. Southwell
Vanessa Boudewyns
Date Added:
12/01/2018
Data for Students: The Potential of Data and Analytics for Student Success
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Postsecondary education is awash in data. Postsecondary institutions track data on students’ demographics, academic performance, course-taking, and financial aid, and have put these data to use, applying data analytics and data science to issues in college completion. Meanwhile, an extensive amount of higher education data are being collected outside of institutions, opening possibilities for data linkages. Newer sources of postsecondary education data could provide an even richer view of student success and improve equity. To explore this potential, this brief describes existing applications of analytics to student success, presents a framework to structure understanding of postsecondary data topics, suggests potential extensions of these data to student success, and describes practical and ethical challenges.

Subject:
Education
Higher Education
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Research Brief Series
Author:
Katherine Leu
Date Added:
03/27/2020
Diversifying Energy Options in a Carbon-Constrained World
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There is a critical need to reduce the static, calm the hype, and provide a realistic and complete presentation of facts to drive climate change mitigation decisions. Diversifying Energy Options in a Carbon-Constrained World is a new series to be published by RTI Press to provide a wide, cross-disciplinary discussion of carbon mitigation options and strategies to inform national and international research, scientific discussions, and policy debates.

Subject:
Applied Science
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Research Brief Series
Author:
Brian G. Southwell
David C. Dayton
Vikram Rao
Date Added:
10/22/2021
Enacting an Improved Response to Sexual Assault: A Criminal Justice Practitioner’s Guide
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Sexual assault is a violent crime that traumatizes individual victims and endangers entire communities. Every victim of sexual assault deserves an opportunity for justice and access to the resources they need to recover from this trauma. In addition, many perpetrators of sexual assaults are serial offenders who also commit other violent crimes, including armed robberies, aggravated assaults, burglary, domestic violence, and homicides, against strangers and acquaintances. Criminal justice agencies have the power to create a strategic, sustainable plan for an improved response to sexual assault that aligns with current best practices and national recommendations. In this document, we define an “improved response” as an approach that supports effective investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases, holds perpetrators accountable, and promotes healing and recovery for victims of sexual assault. This guide will help prosecutor and law enforcement agencies create a process with milestones, goals, and suggested actions, all designed to support a successful and sustainable approach for addressing sexual assault cases. Improving the criminal justice system’s response to sexual assault ultimately improves public safety and promotes trust between criminal justice agencies and the communities they serve.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Criminal Justice
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Occasional Paper Series
Author:
Patricia A. Melton
Date Added:
07/30/2020
Entering the Skilled Technical Workforce After College
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This research brief uses nationally representative data from the 2012/17 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:12/17) to examine post-college transitions of US undergraduates into the skilled technical workforce (STW), defined here as workers in a collection of occupations that require significant levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree for entry. Thus far, empirical research on the STW has been limited by a dearth of data; however, based on newly available data from BPS:12/17, the findings in this report indicate that STW employment provides workers with above-median salaries, more equitable wages, a variety of benefits, and clear career paths. STW jobs attract diverse populations, especially those from underrepresented groups (e.g., Hispanics, individuals from low-income backgrounds, and those whose parents do not have college education). US community colleges and sub-baccalaureate programs play a large role in developing the STW.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Research Brief Series
Author:
Susan Rotermund
Xianglei Chen
Date Added:
04/17/2020
Environmental Justice Concerns and the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route in North Carolina
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This report describes publicly available data sets and quantitative analysis that local communities can use to evaluate environmental justice concerns associated with pipeline projects. We applied these data and analytical methods to two counties in North Carolina (Northampton and Robeson counties) that would be affected by the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). We compared demographic and vulnerability characteristics of census blocks, census block groups, and census tracts that lie within 1 mile of the proposed pipeline route with corresponding census geographies that lie outside of the 1-mile zone. Finally, we present results of a county-level analysis of race and ethnicity data for the entire North Carolina segment of the proposed ACP route. Statistical analyses of race and ethnicity data (US Census Bureau) and Social Vulnerability Index scores (University of South Carolina’s Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute) yielded evidence of significant differences between the areas crossed by the pipeline and reference geographies. No significant differences were found in our analyses of household income and cancer risk data.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Environmental Studies
Social Science
Sociology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Methods Report Series
Author:
Brooks Depro
Julia Hofmann
Justine Allpress
Sarah Wraight
Date Added:
03/18/2018
The Essential Role of Language in Survey Research
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Language users, such as survey respondents and interviewers, must speak the same language literally and figuratively to interact with each other. As diversity grows in the United States and globally, interviewers and respondents may speak a different language or speak the same language differently that reflects their own cultural norms of communication. This book discusses the role of language in survey research when comparisons across groups, cultures, and countries are of interest. Language use in surveys is dynamic, including words, symbols (e.g., arrows), and even emojis. The entire survey life cycle is carried out through language. Researchers write or translate questions and instructions that will address research questions and then pretest them using various techniques, including qualitative inquiry that focuses on context beyond just “the numbers.” Human or virtual data collectors use persuasive messages to communicate with survey respondents and encourage their survey participation. Respondents must comprehend and interpret survey questions and instructions to provide a response. All of these survey processes and products contribute to data quality, and the role of language is essential.

Subject:
Linguistics
Social Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Book Series
Author:
Mandy Sha
Tim Gabel
Date Added:
04/30/2020
A Global Call to Action for Gender-Inclusive Data Collection and Use
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The global data community has made—and is continuing to make—enormous strides toward collecting, analyzing, and using sex-disaggregated data to improve international development programs. Historically, however, sex-disaggregation has been—and largely continues to be—a binary representation of cisgender female and cisgender male populations. This binary interpretation excludes transgender and gender-nonconforming people and further perpetuates marginalization and discrimination of these populations. In a world where disparities are increasing, it is paramount to highlight and share the experiences of marginalized populations so we are better able to serve all beneficiary needs and end disparities. To this end, we call for a paradigm shift from binary sex-disaggregation to multinomial gender-disaggregation, which is more inclusive and equitable. This call to action is aimed particularly at surveyors, researchers, program implementors, policy makers, and gender rights advocates in both resource-sufficient and resource-constrained settings. The lack of adequate gender-disaggregated data is a universal problem.

Subject:
Gender Studies
Social Science
Sociology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Policy Brief Series
Author:
Rajeev Colaço
Stephanie Watson-Grant
Date Added:
12/02/2021
Higher Grounds: Practical Guidelines for Forging Learning Pathways in Upper Primary Education
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To address chronically low primary school completion rates and the disconnect between learners’ skills at the end of primary school and the skills learners need to thrive in secondary school identified in many low- and middle-income countries, more investment is needed to improve the quality of teaching and learning in upper primary grades. Accordingly, we provide guidelines for improving five components of upper primary education: (1) In-service teacher professional development and pre-service preparation to improve and enhance teacher quality; (2) a focus on mathematics, literacy, and core content-area subjects; (3) assessment for learning; (4) high-quality teaching and learning materials; and (5) positive school climates. We provide foundational guiding principles and recommendations for intervention design and implementation for each component. Additionally, we discuss and propose how to structure and design pre-service teacher preparation and in-service teacher training and ongoing support, fortified by materials design and assessment, to help teachers determine where learners are in developmental progressions, move learners towards mastery, and differentiate and support learners who have fallen behind. We provide additional suggestions for integrating a whole-school climate curriculum, social-emotional learning, and school related gender-based violence prevention strategies to address the internal and societal changes learners often face as they enter upper primary.

Subject:
Education
Elementary Education
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Occasional Paper Series
Author:
Patience Sowa, Rachel Jordan, Wendi Ralaingita, and Benjamin Piper
Date Added:
05/24/2021
Increasing Digital Platform Use to Help Youth Find Work
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Young people face myriad obstacles in finding work, leaving more than 71 million unemployed globally. Digital professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, may give youth an effective way to find, retain, and advance in work. We explore platform use in developing economies and present new data on a low-cost, successful way to teach youth how to use these platforms. We end by drawing policy implications for the education and workforce development field.

Subject:
Applied Science
Information Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Policy Brief Series
Author:
Edwin Lehoahoa
Eric M. Johnson
Patrick Shaw
Rob Urquhart
Date Added:
05/15/2020
Knowledge Systems: Evidence to Policy Concepts in Practice
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This policy brief reviews the evolution of knowledge-to-policy studies and the emergence of systems perspectives. We explore the less well understood issue of how to grow and reinforce knowledge systems in settings where they are weak and underdeveloped. We offer a knowledge systems model that encapsulates current thinking and present an example of an effort to strengthen a knowledge system, drawn from a project managed by RTI in Indonesia. We conclude with some recommendations for strengthening knowledge systems including promoting debate among a diversity of voices within the knowledge system, providing sustained stakeholder commitment to the systems approach, investing in the components of the knowledge system as well as the interaction between components, fostering a balance between government mechanisms and space for civil society perspectives, and exploring how knowledge systems can engage the private sector. We conclude with suggestions for applying the knowledge systems model in new country contexts including use of a political economy analysis as well as gauging readiness of government actors, research institutes, and media to engage.

Subject:
Political Science
Social Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Policy Brief Series
Author:
Derick W. Brinkerhoff
Jana C. Hertz
Petrarca Karetji
Robin Bush
Date Added:
06/26/2020
Measuring Everyday Life: Talking About Research and
Why It Matters
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Why do people act as they do? How can we improve our health and well-being? What can the past tell us about our future? Research can help us address such questions, but the journey to finding answers can be challenging and full of adventure. Curated from interviews featured on the public radio show, The Measure of Everyday Life, this collection reveals ways that we can ask useful questions. The book also offers insights from behind the scenes of social science research, communication campaigns and interventions, and community engagement projects. A wide range of audiences—including anyone interested in applying academic research to practical projects, new graduate students, and undergraduate students learning about research—should find useful material in the collection.

Subject:
Political Science
Social Science
Sociology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Book Series
Author:
Brian G. Southwell
Bridget Pittman-Blackwell
Karen Keaton Jackson
Date Added:
02/02/2022
The Multiple Benefts of Motor Competence Skills in Early Childhood
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Recent findings from the Kids Activity and Learning Study complement North Carolina’s multidimensional approach to promoting school readiness by emphasizing the integrated nature of motor and cognitive development in early childhood. Children whose motor skills improved the most over the course of an academic year also tended to demonstrate the biggest gains in executive function and numeracy skills. Children who participated in adaptive, group-based motor skill activities demonstrated gains in motor competence, executive function, and numeracy skills. Incorporating motor activities into established classroom practices has the potential to facilitate multiple aspects of children’s development and promote school readiness. The brief includes specific recommendations for early childhood educators.

Subject:
Anatomy/Physiology
Life Science
Psychology
Social Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Research Brief Series
Author:
Kesha N. Hudson and Michael T. Willoughby
Date Added:
08/30/2021
National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence 2019 National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum
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The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted the National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum on July 18–19, 2019, in Washington, DC. The forum explored ways in which government agencies and programs, law enforcement officials, forensic laboratory personnel, medical examiners and coroners, researchers, and other experts can cooperate to respond to problems associated with drug abuse and misuse. Panelists from these stakeholder groups discussed ways to address concerns such as rapidly expanding crime laboratory caseloads; workforce shortages and resiliency programs; analytical challenges associated with fentanyl analogs and drug mixtures; laboratory quality control; surveillance systems to inform response; and policy related to stakeholder, research, and resource constraints. The NIJ Policy and Practice Forum built off the momentum of previous stakeholder meetings convened by NIJ and other agencies to discuss the consequences of this national epidemic, including the impact it has had on public safety, public health, and the criminal justice response. The forum discussed topics at a policy level and addressed best practices used across the forensic community.

Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Criminal Justice
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Conference Proceedings Series
Author:
Crystal M. Daye
Hope Smiley McDonald
Jeri D. Ropero-Miller
Paige Presler-Jur
Rebecca Shute
Sarah Norsworthy
Date Added:
07/20/2020
Perceived, Experienced, and Internalized Cancer Stigma: Perspectives of Cancer Patients and Caregivers in India
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Cancer stigma may lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This exploratory, pilot study was conducted in India to explore the degree to which cancer stigma is perceived, experienced, and internalized among adults living with cancer and their primary caregivers. We conducted a survey of cancer patients and their caregivers in two Indian cities. The survey assessed perceived, experienced, and internalized stigma; demographic characteristics; patient cancer history; mental health; and social support. A purposive sample of 20 cancer survivor and caregiver dyads was drawn from an ongoing population-based cohort study. Overall, 85 percent of patients and 75 percent of caregivers reported experiencing some level (i.e., yes response to at least one of the items) of perceived, experienced, or internalized stigma. Both patients (85 percent) and caregivers (65 percent) perceived that community members hold at least one stigmatizing belief or attitude toward people with cancer. About 60 percent of patients reported experiencing stigma, and over one-third of patients and caregivers had internalized stigma. The findings indicate that fatalistic beliefs about cancer are prevalent, and basic education about cancer for the general public, patients, and caregivers is required. Cancer-related stigma in India should continue to be studied to determine and address its prevalence, root causes, and influence on achieving physical and mental health-related outcomes.

Subject:
Applied Science
Health, Medicine, and Nursing
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Research Report Series
Author:
Aastha Aggarwal
Carla Bann
Ishu Kataria
Laura Nyblade
Linda Squiers
Mariam Siddiqui
Molly Lynch
Preet K. Dhillon
Date Added:
04/09/2021
Resetting Targets: Examining Large Effect Sizes and Disappointing Benchmark Progress
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This paper uses recent evidence from international early grade reading programs to provide guidance about how best to create appropriate targets and more effectively identify improved program outcomes. Recent results show that World Bank and US Agency for International Development–funded large-scale international education interventions in low- and middle–income countries tend to produce larger impacts than do interventions in the United States, as measured by effect sizes. However, these effect sizes rarely translate into large gains in mean oral reading fluency scores and are associated with only small increases in the proportion of students meeting country-level reading benchmarks. The limited impact of these low- and middle–income countries’ reading programs on the proportion of students meeting reading benchmarks is in large part caused by right-skewed distributions of student reading scores. In other words, modest impacts on the proportion of students meeting benchmarks are caused by low mean scores and large proportions of nonreaders at baseline. It is essential to take these factors into consideration when setting program targets for reading fluency and comprehension. We recommend that program designers in lower-performing countries use baseline assessment data to develop benchmarks based on multiple performance categories that allow for more ambitious targets focused on reducing nonreaders and increasing beginning readers, with more modest targets aimed at improving oral reading fluency scores and increasing the percentage of proficient readers.

Subject:
Education
Elementary Education
English Language Arts
Reading Foundation Skills
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Occasional Paper Series
Author:
Benjamin Piper
Jonathan M. B. Stern
Date Added:
04/19/2019
Social Network Analysis Methods for International Development
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Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a promising yet underutilized tool in the international development field. SNA entails collecting and analyzing data to characterize and visualize social networks, where nodes represent network members and edges connecting nodes represent relationships or exchanges among them. SNA can help both researchers and practitioners understand the social, political, and economic relational dynamics at the heart of international development programming. It can inform program design, monitoring, and evaluation to answer questions related to where people get information; with whom goods and services are exchanged; who people value, trust, or respect; who has power and influence and who is excluded; and how these dynamics change over time. This brief advances the case for use of SNA in international development, outlines general approaches, and discusses two recently conducted case studies that illustrate its potential. It concludes with recommendations for how to increase SNA use in international development.

Subject:
Social Science
Sociology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
RTI Press
Provider Set:
RTI Press Research Brief Series
Author:
Eric M. Johnson and Robert Chew
Date Added:
05/14/2021