STEM Week: Kim Kelly on Responding to National Curriculum and Policy Initiatives in STEM Education Evaluation

I’m Kim Kelly, PhD, from the Psychology Department at the University of Southern California where I teach undergraduate courses in statistics, research methods, psychobiology and human development. I have been involved in the evaluation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum and professional development programs since 2002. These courses and projects are focused on improved student learning and span informal science settings, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. I have come to appreciate, as I’m sure many of you do, the enormous influence of national curriculum efforts such as Common Core Standards and New Generation Science Standards as well as policy efforts to streamline and consolidate the funded STEM education portfolio across federal funding agencies.

Rad Resources: I really recommend National Research Council publication A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas to understand what is motivating the design of the Next Generation Science Standards

Like the Common Core Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts they serve as a blueprint for states to follow in aligning their STEM education standards in the coming decade.

The National Science and Technology Council Committee committee on STEM Education has been initially charged to inventory Federal STEM education activities and develop a 5-year strategic Federal STEM education plan. In their most recent progress report, they discuss activities focused on evaluation guidance and common metrics and evidence standards for inclusion in the strategic plan.

The report also states that an evaluation interagency working group will be created to support agency efforts to develop and carry out evaluation strategies.” One such group has already formed among evaluators of three climate change education programs funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This tri-agency evaluation working group has formulated a common logic model for the collective portfolio of climate education projects and is currently seeking feedback from the AEA membership as well as program officers of the agencies in identifying next steps in evolving a common evaluation framework consistent with the emerging federal strategic plan. Contact Committee Chair Ann Martin at to learn more and get involved in this timely effort.

Hot Tip: The Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) is an AEA-sponsored effort to help evaluators improve their presentation skills. As you get ready to prepare a presentation for Evaluation 2013, visit the p2i website for ideas.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating STEM Education and Training TIG Week with our colleagues in the STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our STEM TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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