CARE research spans various content areas, including topics such as student-centered curriculum and instruction, civics education, K-12 children’s educational experiences during and after COVID, the impact of pandemic-induced school disruptions on English language learners, and the impact of whole-school reform models on student outcomes. Below we provide some examples of our work.

 
Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study

 

CARE researchers, along with partners at Penn State University and Gibson Consulting Group, used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the Knowledge in Action (KIA) project-based learning (PBL) approach to Advanced Placement (AP). The study found that KIA students outperformed non-KIA students on AP exams, including within subgroups. Though the shift to PBL required considerable pedagogical changes, teachers and students perceived benefits beyond AP performance, and the majority of teachers planned to continue using PBL after the study. The pattern of results was consistent for two years and in two courses, AP U.S. Government and AP Environmental Science. Results support teacher-driven adoption of KIA for students from both lower- and higher-income households, and in both courses. (From Saavedra et al, 2021)

Journal article and reports

 

 
Stanford Civic Online Reasoning National Portrait

 

In partnership with the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) and Gibson Consulting Group, CARE researchers administered an assessment to more than 3,000 students in 16 districts across the country. Districts varied by region, urbanicity, size and demographic composition to create a sample approximating the demographic profile of high school students across the United States. The SHEG-developed assessment gauged students’ ability to evaluate digital sources on the open internet. Nearly all students floundered. Ninety percent received no credit on four of six tasks. These results informed SHEG’s development of curriculum designed to teach U.S. students how to be critical consumers of online information.

Journal article and reports

 

 
Generation Citizen Efficacy Study

 

In partnership with NORC at the University of Chicago the purpose of this study is to learn how to improve equity-focused civics education. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences’ Education Research Grants program, this randomized controlled trial study seeks to provide rigorous evidence of the impact of the Generation Citizen (GC) “action civics” curriculum on students’ critical thinking, civic knowledge, engagement, and behavior (i.e., 2022 midterm voting), and engagement with learning. Working in partnership with two diverse, large, urban school districts in the US, our study evaluates implementation, cost effectiveness, and impact. Results will inform educators’ and policymakers’ decisions regarding whether and how to implement civic education.

 
Street Law Program Evaluation

 

In partnership with the Street Law Inc., the purpose of this study is to evaluate the implementation of Street Law’s "Rule of Law" curriculum, lessons, materials and professional learning program in one east-coast school district. Funded by the Annenberg foundation, our evaluation examines changes in students' understanding of the concept of "Rule of Law" gained through Street Law's "Rule of Law" curriculum, as well as participating teachers' experiences and perceptions of student engagement. Results will inform continued program development, associated professional development, and may lead to a subsequent impact study.

 
Evaluation of English Learner Proficiency in Texas Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students across Texas had limited and disrupted access to typical educational contexts and services during the 2020-21 school year. Many students attended school fully or partially remote in 2020-21, and the face-to-face experience for those attending in-person changed. Changes to remote or hybrid instruction raise risks for student progress and learning, especially for English learner students, who need extensive opportunities to practice speaking and hearing English to develop English oral language proficiency as well as literacy skills. This study, in partnership with American Institutes for Research, Gibson Consulting Group, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as part of the Southwest Regional Education Laboratory, will include descriptive and correlational analyses to understand the extent to which Texas English learner students' English language proficiency differed before and after the start of the pandemic. Findings will help the TEA make decisions about how and where to invest resources for English learner students. Results will also inform the revision of English language proficiency standards slated for introduction to the state of Texas in the coming years. Read more about this study here.

 
Evaluation of a State-defined Restart Strategy for Low-performing Schools in Texas

 

Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) established grant programs to provide financial support to Title I schools. The purpose of the grants is to design and implement strategic school improvements. One whole-school improvement model, “School Restart,” requires schools to develop a new academic program and replace school leadership and instructional staff. This study, in partnership with American Institutes for Research, Gibson Consulting Group, and TEA as part of the Southwest Regional Education Laboratory, is conducting an evaluation of the effects of school restart on student, teacher, and principal outcomes. The study will provide evidence on whether school restart improved student and educator outcomes, and whether the characteristics of students and staff changed after implementation. Read more about this study here.

 
Understanding America Study, Education Module

 

Since 2014, the University of Southern California Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research has administered the Understanding America Study (UAS). The UAS is a longitudinal, national probability-based panel of approximately 10,000 U.S. residents, collecting information at multiple time points each year on economic, attitudinal, health, political, and other measures. CARE researchers pose questions at regular intervals to the over 1,600 panel households with at least one child in grades K-12 asking about children’s educational experiences, and to the full sample about attitudes and opinions around public education more generally.

Journal articles

Example policy impact

Presentations

Electronic articles