The annual assessment of RAPP's impact through pre- and post-test analysis is completed (in first draft)!
Curriculum and Measurement
The flagship program of the Racial Awareness Program is the RAPP 9-month experiential social justice education program. The 2012-13 class of RAPP was the 28th group of University of Cincinnati students to participate in this program. As such, they are known as RAPP XXVIII.
The curricular objectives for the RAPP 9-month program were established in Fall 2008 and updated in Fall 2012 to be:
- Develop relationships with new people
- Develop ability to communicate across difference for learning and understanding
- Recognize that oppression is systemic, pervasive, interlocking, and imbedded
- Recognize own agency
The RAPP XXVIII experience was facilitated by the RAPP Program Coordinator Rebecca Lehman and RAPP Student Worker Brice Mickey. Following the set of session goals that constitute the RAPP Curriculum, these facilitators developed 14 sessions and three overnight retreats utilizing social justice education resources and intergroup dialogue practices. Three student volunteers also helped facilitate the RAPP XXVIII group process as peer educators and mentors – Farooq Alkhateeb, Tianshu Lu, and Kristen Myers-Young – having previously participated in the RAPP 9-month program and received pre-service and on-going training in social justice peer education.
The pre- and post-test instrument was developed and first implemented in Fall 2009 and has been updated annually by the facilitation team to reflect participant feedback and updates in the curriculum as well as issues found in assessment. RAPP XXVIII is the fourth group on which it has been administered. The pre-test was administered at the second meeting of the group and the post-test was administered at the twelfth (penultimate).
Twenty-eight students committed to RAPP XXVIII and 24of these graduated through the program in April 2012 (85.7% retention). Twenty-one of these graduates completed both the pre- and post-test (87.5%).
All RAPP members committed to participating in all RAPP XXVIII meetings and retreats (each meeting is one session, each retreat has three sessions) and completing brief activities between sessions (e.g. "write the meeting dates in your calendar," "record a page of reflection in your journal"); RAPP XXVIII had a total of 22 sessions and 13 between sessions activities.
The overall average for participation was attendance at 89.9% of sessions. Previous analysis demonstrated that participating in 80% or more of sessions is critical to achieving the learning objectives; 21 participants (87.5%) of the group attended 80-100% of the sessions.
By section, the key highlights are:
- Identities – Participants reported an overall increase in racial and gender identity awareness. When divided into dominant and subordinated group identities, the greatest reported change was among racial identity awareness of White/Caucasian students.
- Comfort in Discussion – Participants reported an increase in the number of people in the group with whom they report being comfortable discussing difficult topics. Participants also reported any increase in their overall comfort discussing racism, sexism, cissexism, and heterosexism. RAPP participation enhanced participants general awareness and knowledge related to oppression and their skill in having conversations around it.
- Key Words – Participants demonstrated an increased ability to define and quality of definition of key words related to social justice education (oppression, privilege, ally, social construct, and intersectionality). The greatest demonstrated increase was for social construct.
- Challenging Others – Participants reported being more likely to verbally express disagreement with statements they found offensive made by people across all relationships surveyed. The biggest reported increase was with expressing disagreement with co-workers and strangers.
- Communicating – Participants reported an increase in use of cross-cultural communication strategies with all relationships surveyed. The greatest reported increase was in acknowledging multiple perspectives.
- Identifying Racism – Participants were slightly more likely to identify the connection with racism in institutional and social levels.
- Feedback – In response to open-ended questions on the post-test, participants provided feedback on the overall RAPP XXVIII experience.
o Learnings/Enhancements: All participants were able to describe something they learned or enhanced through their participation. Most frequently noted were learning in line with the “each one teach one” philosophy, understanding privilege, recognizing oppression as complex, and communication skills.
o Desired changes: Participants provided a variety of suggestions for improving the RAPP 9-month process, most frequently noted were the meeting timeframe, providing social activities between sessions, and increasing the use of educational simulations in sessions.
o Sense of connection with UC: Four-fifths responded with an unequivocal yes when asked whether RAPP impacted their sense of connection with UC; all respondents described ways in which RAPP positively impacted their UC experience.
For full reporting of findings, please contact RAPP Program Coordinator Rebecca Lehman for the full report. Included at the end are important-to-note limitations to the data and analysis.