Culturally Responsive Experimental Intervention Studies: The Development of a Rubric for Paradigm Expansion

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Neither legislative demand for evidence-based practices nor a focus on experimental designs for educational interventions has ameliorated the disparate educational opportunities and outcomes for youth from nondominant cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Recent initiatives to increase the rigor of intervention research in special education have largely ignored the implications of culture and its role in experimental research. The extent to which the experimental intervention studies are culturally responsive remains unexplored. We developed a rubric, modeled after prior rubrics for quality indicators of special education research, identifying criteria for culturally responsive research. Rubric items were created following a systematic review of literature and gathering feedback from experts. The 15-item rubric uses culture as a generative concept that mediates each aspect of experimental intervention research. Implications include expanding the field’s dominant empirical paradigm and increasing reflexivity and responsivity in knowledge production that may contribute to a paradigm expansion in special education research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-359
Number of pages41
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • cultural responsiveness
  • ecological validity
  • experimental design
  • paradigm expansion
  • special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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