DCL: NSF INCLUDES Conference on Multi-Scale Evaluation in STEM Education
This project will develop, organize and host a Conference to assist in the planning of the NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) Alliances and National Network. The focus of this project is the design and implementation of program evaluations necessary for the INCLUDES Alliances and National Network. The conference will be the first to emphasize the multiple scales at which evaluations occur for programs that include components based at single institutions, at interdisciplinary centers/institutes within larger institutions, at alliances/partnerships between several institutions and at entities with a national scope. As the INCLUDES Alliances and National Network will operate across multiple scales, the proposed Conference will provide guidance on the technical aspects of designing and planning multi-scale evaluations.
The target audience for the activities are those individuals involved in current INCLUDES projects, those considering collaborating in such projects and STEM educators considering inclusion of formal evaluation in their projects. The overall goals are to (i) enhance the knowledge of the participants about evaluation methods; (ii) present the experiences of individuals who have successfully developed alliances and carried out evaluation efforts for these; and (iii) provide advice regarding evaluation methods for those planning to participate in future requests for INCLUDES Alliances and/or the National Network. The methods proposed include three components: (a) an initial webinar open to the broad community of STEM educators to introduce key concepts and vocabulary concerning evaluation methods; (b) a pre-Conference Tutorial with 30 participants to provide a one-day overview of modern methods in evaluation and connect these to projects suggested by the participants; and (c) a two-day Conference with 80 participants including as speakers leading experts on program evaluation as well as leaders of programs in STEM education that have operated at multiple scales. Virtual participation will be integrated throughout the three components of the project and a formal evaluation of the project will be carried out using the Systems Evaluation Methodology that has been in use at the host NSF-sponsored Center (NIMBioS) for many years.
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