Anna Rosefsky Saavedra

Photo of Anna Saavedra
Policy Researcher
Santa Monica Office


Ed.D. in educational policy, leadership, and instructional practice, Harvard University; Ed.M. in international education policy, Harvard University; B.A. in history, Yale University


Anna R. Saavedra is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research addresses teaching and learning of complex thinking and communication skills. She is currently principal investigator of a three-year, multi-site pilot and randomized control trial evaluation of the Knowledge in Action program, a project-based learning approach to teaching Advanced Placement courses. She is also co-principal investigator of a five-year, multi-site, mixed-methods evaluation of innovative ways to design schools to optimize high school students' skill development and college, career, and citizenship preparedness. In another current study she is leading development of a replicable methodology to identify and describe the non-technical skills military personnel gain through schoolhouse training and on-the-job experience. Saavedra recently led three evaluations of the International Baccalaureate program in the United States and Mexico; was first author of papers on Common Core State Standards implementation, teaching and learning 21st century skills, and K-12 civic education; and a co-led a study of college students' critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal, and writing skills. Compare, Economics of Education Review, Teachers College Record and Harvard Education Press have published her recent work. Saavedra also taught high school world history and managed educational programs and partnerships for a large international education company. She received master's and doctorate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of the Opportunity by Design Initiative
  • Evaluation of the long-term effects of student retention
  • Veteran's Non-technical Valued Skills

Selected Publications

Anna Rosefsky Saavedra "Dry to Dynamic Civics Education Curricula," in Eds David Campbell, Frederick M. Hess, Meira Levinson, Civics 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation, Harvard Education Press (forthcoming)

Anna Rosefsky Saavedra, Juan Esteban Saavedra, "Do Colleges Cultivate Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Writing and Interpersonal Skills?" Economics of Education Review (forthcoming)

Anna Rosefsky Saavedra, "The Academic Impact of Enrollment in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs: A Case Study of Chicago Public Schools," Teachers College Record, 116(5), 2014

Saavedra, A., Lavore, E. & Flores, G., "The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Mexico as Preparation for Higher Education.," Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 2014

Saavedra, A. & Opfer, D., "Learning 21st -Century Skills Requires 21st-Century Teaching," Phi Delta Kappan, 2012

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Fellowship


  • Students pledging allegiance to the American flag

    Strengthening Our Democracy Starts in School

    The teaching of civics and other social studies courses has hit hard times in most states, driven in part by accountability systems that reward schools for math and reading scores. Yet civic education is critical to the stability of our democracy and seems warranted now more than ever.

    Dec 17, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • teenager with laptop

    Nine Lessons on How to Teach 21st Century Skills and Knowledge

    Despite widespread agreement among parents, educators, employers and policymakers worldwide that students need skills like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and creativity, these skills are stubbornly difficult to teach and learn, write Anna R. Saavedra and V. Darleen Opfer.

    Oct 19, 2012 Education Week