Collaborative Research on Out-of-School-Time Science Programs for Youth: Qualitative Research and Longitudinal Survey Design
The project will conduct a mapping study to describe the contexts, characteristics and practices of a national sample of science-focused Out-of-School Time (OST) programs. The study targets OST programs for middle- and high-school-aged youth, including after-school programs, camps, workshops, internships, and other models. While millions of dollars are invested in these programs, and tens of thousands of students participate , as a community, we have no truly comprehensive view of the wide variety of formats, audiences, and approaches that are represented by the many active programs. Where, when, and by whom are these science-rich programs conducted? What types of experiences do they offer to what kinds of students, with what goals? What organizational and experiential factors affect the outcomes for these youth? Ultimately, we wish to understand how these differences in program design are related to youth outcomes such as STEM learning, attitudes and interest, and their later career and educational choices. To answer these questions, we are gathering data through documents, interviews, and the online MOST-Science Questionnaire.