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Youth Attitudes Towards Assessment Tools in After-school Informal Learning and Employment Training Programs

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Makerspaces

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31321

Download Count

31

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Paper Authors

biography

Foad Hamidi University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Dr. Foad Hamidi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). His research interests include Human-Computer Interaction, Participatory Design and Assistive Technology.

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William Easley University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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William is a Ph.D. student in the Human-Centered Computing program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He earned a B.S. in Information Systems and a M.S. in Human-Centered Computing, both from UMBC. His primary research investigates the impact that Making may have on youth engagement in STEM education and careers.

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Stephanie Grimes Digital Harbor Foundation

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Stephanie Grimes has been working in education for over 15 years in many different capacities. A former Early Childhood Educator, Stephanie is now the Director of Education for Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. Steph oversees all curricular creations and youth programs for the DHF Tech Center and workshop experiences. She works to produce innovative, project-based, and accessible content that focuses on preparing youth for the careers of tomorrow, with a focus on technology and making.

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Shawn Grimes Digital Harbor Foundation

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Shawn Grimes is the Executive Director at the Digital Harbor Foundation where they use technology and maker skills to develop a blend of creativity and productivity in youth and educators.

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Amy Hurst University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Amy Hurst an Associate Professor of Human-Centered Computing in the Information Systems Department at UMBC and studies accessibility problems and build assistive technologies.

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Abstract

After-school maker programs provide opportunities to introduce youth to engineering concepts and skills before college and engage them in hands-on projects that require creative problem solving, teamwork and persistence. An important part in evaluating the quality of these programs is conducting assessments that capture their impact on the skills and attitudes of youth participants. As interest in after-school programs grow and they expand to include hundreds of youth participants, it is important to identify qualitative and quantitative assessment tools that can be deployed at scale and provide useful insights into programs’ impact to educators. In this context, a key factor that impacts the successful deployment of assessment tools is youth’s attitudes towards them.

In this study, we investigated the impact of youth’s attitudes towards both quantitative assessment tools, including Grit-S and Alternative Uses Test (AUT), and qualitative assessment tools, including open portfolios and showcase presentations. We analyzed survey data from 159 youth who participated in learning programs offered at a local after-school learning center over three years. We also used participant observations and a focus group with 8 youth in a professional training program offered at the center. Additionally, we conducted interviews with three adult program staff who administered the different assessments and collected their observations and reflections about youth’s attitudes towards them.

We found that the youth in the learning programs exhibited negative attitudes towards quantitative survey tools that resulted in low completion rates and resistance in participating in assessments. This result was more pronounced in the case of Grit-S than AUT. The youth exhibited more positive attitudes towards the open portfolio and showcase assessments, although the performative aspects of these activities failed to engage all of them. The youth in the professional training program preferred having multiple assessment tools and described how each tool can provide different insights. The staff identified a need to better match the content and format of assessments with the maker culture as practiced in the center. Based on these results we present a set of recommendations for developing and deploying relevant and engaging future assessment in these contexts.

Hamidi, F., & Easley, W., & Grimes, S., & Grimes, S., & Hurst, A. (2018, June), Youth Attitudes Towards Assessment Tools in After-school Informal Learning and Employment Training Programs Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31321

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