In 1992, Russell Sage Foundation was invited by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help develop an initiative aimed at strengthening educational research to improve literacy levels in the United States. The program focused on applying findings from basic cognitive science to educational practice that would foster the ability of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to read, write, and reason effectively. As the program developed, it moved away from support of basic cognitive research toward projects aimed at understanding how to disseminate innovations that promote active literacy and sustain educational change. Guiding the process were several research teams that combined educational innovators with specialists in evaluation, experts in teacher training, and social scientists who study the diffusion of innovation. The program eventually supported four major projects, all of which were concluded by 2001. For a discussion of the impetus behind the Literacy initiative, please visit the Mellon Foundation website.
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