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Training And Performance Assessment Of Minority Students In Stem

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring & Outreach for Girls & Minorities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1275.1 - 15.1275.9



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Paper Authors

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Ehsan Sheybani Virginia State University

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Giti Javidi VSU

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

Training and Performance Assessment of Minority Students in STEM Abstract

The proposed study is designed to implement and test the efficacy of an intervention developed as part of an NSF- funded project by the team of investigators at Longwood University and Virginia State University. This intervention develops the underlying thinking skills in students necessary for success in STEM courses and careers. Rather than relying only on classroom content and high-level thinking skills, this intervention also includes a classroom component involving an innovative video game programming curriculum developed by the investigators. The impact of this intervention will be assessed at a critical developmental period: the entry into high school (9th grade). Over the three-year period of the project, the groups of participants have been assessed on a number of different variables to develop a model of how these variables impact the cognitive interventions. These variables have all been implicated in lowered academic performance, and the information provided by the model will allow the development of future non-academic interventions associated with these variables to enhance the impact of cognitive training.


An Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at Longwood and Virginia State Universities addressed a unique pedagogy and teaching method in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines for middle school students in the Digispired project. The primary goal of project was to provide learning and research opportunities to middle school students by focusing on programming and thus gaming, and the four science themes through Saturday and summer programs for three years. Within this 36-month project, 90 low-income rural and urban students (1) learned about technologies involved in game products; (2) learned about programming, computer graphics, and animation; (3) created games on four science themes – recycling, nutrition, physical exercise or activity, and substance abuse; (4) finalized their interactive game projects for distribution in local educational communities; and (5) shared their learning experiences and products in educational conferences of students and of teachers of mathematics, science, and technology. The project staff developed professional development and instructional resources for replication and identified instructional models and strategies that are appealing to the interactive game generation. This paper discusses the results and ways in which the project related to the natural interests of young people in interactive games and thus motivated them to learn programming and explore technology and software engineering careers.

Generally, the Digispired project shows promise for increasing students’ knowledge and skills with respect to technology both over time and in relation to their peers. Students also showed significantly more positive attitudes toward technology in several areas when compared to similar, non-participating peers. Participating students also reported that the program was more interesting and helpful than technology courses offered at their schools, and they expressed a desire to keep learning more about different kinds of software and programming. The primary challenges were noted in students’ mixed perceptions of the Summer Academies.

Evaluation Findings

The following sections detail the findings of the Digispired evaluation during the 2008-2009 school year.

Summer Academy Implementation Quality

Participant feedback on the Digispired Summer Academies held in 2007, 2008, and 2009 was collected through the administration of the Summer Academy Participant Feedback survey, administered near the end of each summer’s activities. Comparisons of all indicators are presented in separate tables for positive and negative indicators (Tables 1 and 2). This arrangement allows for comparisons by gender, by year, or by both attributes. Participants who did not report gender are not included in Tables 1 and 2.

Sheybani, E., & Javidi, G. (2010, June), Training And Performance Assessment Of Minority Students In Stem Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16704

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