In a field study, the effects on academic performance of two different applications of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) in the classroom were measured. As per the requirements of such pedagogy, both entailed modes and contents of instruction that attend to the specific cultural characteristics of the learners. However, in one condition (systematic CRP application), emphasis on culturally relevant contents extended to both instruction and assessment, whereas in another condition, they were largely confined to instruction (informal CRP application). Students of Middle Eastern descent who were enrolled in either a history or a critical thinking course were exposed to one of the two conditions. During the first half of the semester, midterm and assignment performance did not significantly differ. However, performance during the second half of the semester and attendance rates were higher for the systematic CRP condition. These findings suggest that emphasis on culturally relevant content encompassing both learning and assessment can be beneficial to academic performance but its fruits become tangible only with sustained exercise.
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