This annotated bibliography, originally created as a supplement to a research poster, compiles the output from an RTI internal research and development (IR&D) award. Each fiscal year, RTI considers staff-submitted proposals for innovative products or services that would advance a field of research but are not likely to be covered by external sources, and selects some to receive IR&D grants. Beginning in 2016, staff of RTI’s International Education division took on the challenge of significantly increasing the unit’s internal funding, production, and publication of peer-reviewed research. The urgency was driven by three significant factors: (1) Omission from meta-analyses—During the previous 10 year period, several broadly distributed retrospectives were published on “what works” in learning assessment and improvement—none of which covered RTI’s extensive experience, because it was available only as gray literature (primarily reports for the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID). Thus, a decade of learning from the administration and analysis of Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Assessments (EGRA and EGMA), in particular, was not well accounted for. (2) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—In 2015, the global community adopted the SDGs and began determining metrics to monitor progress. Unless RTI moved to publish its findings on potential use of alternative assessments, including EGRA and EGMA, country-driven approaches to measurement for low- and lower-middle-income countries could be excluded from options for monitoring and tracking progress toward the new global goals. (3) Absence of external funding—The primary sponsor of the relevant project work, USAID, did not have funding to support following up with additional analyses, particularly those involving multicountry comparisons.
The IR&D award responded to these gaps. As led by Dr. Amber Gove, the primary intent of the effort was to ensure that the Institute would lead the field in using and disseminating EGRA and EGMA data, the majority of which RTI had collected and analyzed. The IR&D funding covered multiple years, and the result by late 2019 was 16 peer-reviewed publications, with several more submitted and under review. Some key lessons learned during the process—as reflected in the listed works—were: (1) Start with client-funded reports and analyses; (2) pair first-time authors with more experienced writers; (3) ask key questions across countries and/or languages; (4) collaborate with colleagues from other organizations; and (5) prioritize broad (open) access. More information: Amber Gove, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @AmberGove