Rita Karam

Photo of Rita Karam
Senior Policy Researcher; Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in education, University of California, Riverside; M.A. in sociology, California State University, Fullerton; B.A. in sociology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Media Resources

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Rita T. Karam is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. Her research focuses on studying educational policies, educational organizations, educational equity, and program improvement. For over 14 years Karam has been investigating school reforms and educational programs (e.g. college access, STEM), decentralization policies and school monitoring/evaluation and accountability systems through the use of experimental and quasi-experimental methods. Karam has conducted summative and formative assessments of such programs and reforms where she examined their implementation and their effects on student academic and non-academic outcomes. In her research, she takes into account various factors such as the complexity of reforms and programs, their coherence with local policies as well as other government policies, and their alignment with cultural values

Karam utilizes surveys, case studies, interviews, and classroom observation methodologies to measure implementation both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Currently, Karam is leading or co-leading several educational projects including the examination of the role of technology in developing online communities of practice among science teachers, the implementation of Common Core Standards in mathematics and a strategic review of graduate education in Texas.

She earned her Ph. D. in Education from the University of California, Riverside.

Selected Publications

Karam, R., Straus, S., Byers, A., Kase, C., Cefalu, M., "The Role of Online Communities in Promoting Sociotechnical Capital among Science Teachers," Educational Technology Research Development, 2017

Karam, R, Pane, J., Griffin, B.A., Robyn, A., Phillips, A., and Daugherty, L., "Examining the Implementation of Technology-Based Blended Algebra I Curriculum at Scale Cognitive Tutor Algebra 1 Program in Middle and High Schools," Educational Technology Research Development, 2016

Karam, R. and Zellman, G. , "Educating Syrian Refugees: Challenges Facing Host Countries," Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 2017

Karam, R., Goldman, C., Basco, D., and Carew, D. , Managing the Expansion of Graduate Education, RAND (RR-1899), 2017

Karam, R., Stecher, B., Tsai, T., Grimm, G., and Schweig, J, Mathematics Audit of DoDEA Schools, RAND (RR-1272), 2016


English, Arabic


  • A man studying in his apartment

    How to Navigate Public-Private Partnerships in Higher Ed

    Universities are partnering with private companies that have the resources to help them compete in the online learning market and maximize student enrollment. Do their different missions—providing high-quality education and making a profit—dilute the quality of the courses?

    May 26, 2017 RealClearEducation

  • Boys study with a shared book at their school in a village outside Sanaa, Yemen, February 2, 2016

    Countering Extremism: Early Childhood Education Forgotten

    Global attention has turned to education as a way to counter extremism. But what has been missing from the conversation is a focus on learning in children's first years, when much brain development occurs. In the Middle East and North Africa, government underinvestment in formal programs for young children is the norm.

    Jun 8, 2016 The National Interest

  • Elementary students in a classroom with a teacher

    Implementing Education Reforms to Enhance School Performance

    Although countries differ greatly in how their education systems are structured, financed, and the extent to which they are centralized, they share common obstacles that undermine reform success. Beyond the obvious steps of providing adequate resources and professional development, there are ways to improve the implementation of school-wide reforms.

    Nov 13, 2015 The RAND Blog