Rita T. 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

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Rita T. Karam is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She specializes in educational policies, educational equity, and program improvement. For over 18 years, she has been investigating school reform, science, engineering and technology (STEM) education, and post-secondary education and workforce preparation using experimental and quasi-experimental methods. Karam has also examined the delivery of education to Syrian refugees in host countries. She utilizes mixed methods including surveys, interviews, and observation. In her research, she considers various factors such as the complexity of programs and heir coherence with local policies as well as other government policies, and their alignment with cultural values.

Karam is currently leading multiple studies examining issues surrounding literacy and employment opportunities.

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


  • Harvard University campus after it shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 25, 2020, photo by Keiko Hiromi/Reuters

    College in America Could Be Changed Forever

    COVID-19 is threatening to upend the models that both public and private higher education depend on in the United States. As universities consider whether to postpone in-person classes until next year, many parents and students may be questioning the value of a traditional higher education.

    Jul 7, 2020 CNN

  • University of California, Berkeley Professors Lisa Wymore and Greg Niemeyer look at the Zoom screen showing students in their online Collaborative Innovation course in Berkeley, California, U.S., March 12, 2020, photo by Nathan Frandino/Reuters

    Coronavirus Forces Colleges Online. Will Learning Ever Be the Same?

    Colleges and universities have turned to online courses to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But distance learning may also hold promise as a long-term strategy to help make higher education more accessible and affordable.

    Mar 16, 2020 Fox News Channel

  • Engineer trains apprentices on machinery, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

    How Community Colleges Can Establish Better Partnerships with Employers

    Career and technical education programs give students a chance to engage in learning relevant to their chosen fields and apply immediately for jobs. A strategic vision of collaboration between industry and community colleges can benefit all parties.

    Jun 6, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • 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