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Assessment of the Impact of Summer STEAM Programs on High School Participants’ Content Knowledge and Attitude Towards STEAM Careers

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Career Attitudes

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Marcelo Caplan Columbia College

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Marcelo Caplan - Associate Professor, Department of Science and Mathematics, Columbia College Chicago. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I am involved in the community engagement programs and activities of the department. I am the coordinator of three outreach programs 1) the NSF-ISE project “Scientists for Tomorrow” which goal is to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning in community centers in the Chicago area, 2) the Junior Research Scientists program funded by After School Matters of the city of Chicago, to promote STEM for high school students and 3) a collaboration with the Center for College Access and Success – Northeastern University to promote STEM learning in their Upward Bound Math & Science program, also oriented for high school students. More information regarding the mentioned programs can be find at

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For the past five years, the Science and Mathematics Department at “University”, in collaboration with After School Matters (ASM) from the city of Chicago, offers two, six-weeks summer programs for high school and rising high school students interested in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) fields. During this period (June through August), 80 students spend six weeks on the college campus participating in one of the two following programs: 1) 30 students participated at the Junior Research Scientists and 2) 50 students participated at the Comed Youth Ambassadors. Both programs were designed by faculty and staff of the department. Students attended classes taught by college faculty and staff; participated in engineering design projects and problem-solving challenges, and attended other STEAM related activities.

These summer programs attract high school students from the inner city of Chicago exposing them to STEAM disciplines and careers through rigorous classes, laboratories and real life experiences. At the same time the programs provide them with the full college and career readiness experience. The main goals of this program are to: (1) introduce students to a wide variety of STEAM fields, (2) increase student’s engineering mathematics and science knowledge, and (3) facilitate students to learn about different STEAM fields they might be interested in pursuing.

To assess the impact of the program, the participants took a pre and post content knowledge test that included basic electricity and energy questions (the main topics covered in the two programs), and a pre and post survey regarding their attitude towards Mathematics, Science, Engineering and the 21st Century skills. In addition, the authors collected participants’ expectations of the program at the beginning of the summer session and their impressions of the program after the six week intervention.

Data analysis of the pre and post content knowledge test showed a significant gain in both groups, but their attitude toward STEAM careers did not show significant change. In this paper, the authors will present the programs and will discuss the impact of the program on the participants in each specific program.

Caplan, M. (2018, June), Assessment of the Impact of Summer STEAM Programs on High School Participants’ Content Knowledge and Attitude Towards STEAM Careers Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29838

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