June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1425.1 - 12.1425.13
Evaluating a Collaborative Middle School Outreach Program-- The Strategy, the Results, and the Challenges
A Navy funded outreach program directed at increasing the interest of middle school students in pursuing careers in science and engineering has been subjected to a comprehensive mixed mode evaluation process conducted by a professional educational program evaluator. The evaluation process and its implementation in terms of the comparison-group studies and mixed method (quantitative and qualitative) data collection methods are described as well as the logic models which underlie this process. Some results are described and the paper closes with a statement of the challenges faced by the evaluator.
In the fall of 2003, representatives from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the School of Education of the College of William and Mary met with the staff of Senator John Warner (R- VA) to seek funding for an innovative program devoted to increasing the interest of middle school students in pursing careers in science and engineering. This was in response to an acknowledgement by ONR that attention needed to be given to the future technical workforce needs of the Navy’s Warfare Centers given the decrease in the numbers of US citizens obtaining advanced degrees in science and engineering1.
From these discussions, the ONR-funded Virginia Demonstration Project (VDP) emerged which, in the three years of its existence, has grown to reach more than 1500 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 young Navy scientists and engineers who work side-by-side the teachers in the classroom as facilitators, mentors, and role models.
Figure 1. VDP Summer Camp, Dahlgren, Virginia, 2005
There were two types of problems used in the VDP: 1) Robotics Challenges requiring the solution of problems having both a societal and Navy focus using LEGO Mindstorms equipment and 2) specially-constructed Breakout Experiments which were used to illustrate specific mathematics and science topics.
McLaughlin, J., & Hardinge, G., & Brown, E., & Jenne, K., & Stiegler, R. (2007, June), The Evaluation Of A Comprehensive Middle School Outreach Program The Strategy, The Results, And The Challenges Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2742
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