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Evaluating A Comprehensive Middle School Outreach Program—The Results

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering in Middle Schools

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

29

Page Numbers

13.572.1 - 13.572.29

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4440

Download Count

46

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Paper Authors

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Juanita Jo Matkins College of William and Mary

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Juanita Jo Matkins is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at the College of William and Mary. She was a K-12 teacher for 18 years, and the Virginia recipient of the 1995 Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching. She has written and published several papers and reports on various issues in teacher education, including assessment, gender and multicultural issues in science education.

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John A. McLaughlin McLauglin Associates

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John McLaughlin is a senior consultant in strategic planning, performance measurement,
and program evaluation. He is presently working on several project including the Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services Administration on Aging and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well serving as the lead evaluation consultant to seven national centers

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Eugene Brown Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Eugene Brown is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. In addition to the Virginia Demonstration Project, he has worked on a number of STEM outreach programs and has published several papers describing these activities. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

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Gail Hardinge College of William and Mary

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Gail Hardinge is an educational psychologist who has worked with the Va. Department of Education's Training and Technical Assistance Centers, at the College of William and Mary, providing professional development programs for teachers. She has worked in public education for twenty-two years and is an adjunct Assistant Professor at William and Mary, teaching courses in collaborative consultation and assessment, as well serving as the college's VDP Project Coordinator.

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Nancy West College of William and Mary

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Nancy West is the Curriculum Specialist on the Virginia Demonstration Project at the College of William and Mary. Her background includes teaching, from high school chemistry to community college and college-level teaching of geology and science instructional methods. She has served as coordinator of mathematics and science curriculum for a school district. Her interests and experience focus on field studies and problem-based learning.

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Robert Stiegler Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division

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Robert Stiegler is currently supporting the USMC Targeting and Engagement Systems and the Office of Naval Research, N-STAR initiative. His recent career experience has included service as a program manager for USMC science and technology programs, Science Advisor to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic, and Head, NAVSEA Combat Systems Safety and Engineering Division.

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Kirk Jenne Office of Naval Research

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Kirk Jenne is the director of the N-STAR (Naval Research--Science and Technology for America's Readiness) program at the Office of Naval Research. He is on a rotational assignment from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island. His research interests are in ocean engineering, materials, and underwater acoustics and sensors.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Evaluating a Comprehensive Middle School Outreach Program— The Results

Abstract

In the three years of its existence, the Virginia Demonstration Project, a middle school STEM outreach program supported by the Office of Naval Research, has grown to reach more than 3000 7th and 8th graders in its academic year and summer camp programs, to involve more than 80 science and math teachers in its professional development activities, and to employ the services of nearly 50 Navy scientists and engineers who work side-by-side with the teachers in the classroom as facilitators, mentors, and role models.

This paper describes how, in the context of a comprehensive logic model, comparison-group, pre- and post-testing, and focus group mixed-method (quantitative and qualitative) studies have been used to determine in a statistically significant fashion how the interventions of which this program consists can be tied to the measured achievements. Changes in the skills, knowledge, and attitudes of the teachers and students will be described as well as the influence of this program on changing student attitudes toward possible STEM careers. The human subjects-based research was conducted with the approval of the Institutional Review Board of the College of William & Mary.

The results show that as a result of participating in the program, students have an increased interest in pursuing STEM careers and that they exhibit increased knowledge in and ability to use science and mathematics. Teachers indicate a high level of support for problem-based learning, which is a fundamental component of the program. The results are presented in a form of valuable results and broadly transferable methodologies that will inform a variety of K12 STEM outreach activities.

The Program

Many studies have confirmed that America’s educational system is lacking. Listed under the title “Some Worrisome Indicators” in the Executive Summary of the National Academy of Engineering’s Rising Above the Gathering Storm (2005)1, three particularly compelling statements can be found: 1) “Fewer than one-third of US 4th grade and 8th grade students performed at or above a level called “proficient” in mathematics, 2) “US 12th graders recently performed below the international average for 21 countries on a test of general knowledge in mathematics and science,” and 3) “In 1999, only 41% of US 8th grade students received instruction from a mathematics teacher who specialized in mathematics, considerably lower than the international average of 71%.” There is clearly ample room for improvement here.

Segal and Yochelson (2006)2 remind us: “Top-down federal spending alone will not win the race for global leadership in science and technology. It will take a hands-on commitment from all involved in the US innovation enterprise to build world-class talent from the bottom up.”

Matkins, J. J., & McLaughlin, J. A., & Brown, E., & Hardinge, G., & West, N., & Stiegler, R., & Jenne, K. (2008, June), Evaluating A Comprehensive Middle School Outreach Program—The Results Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4440

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015