Training young people to be literate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is important far beyond the nation’s workforce needs and demands. In the modern world, breakthroughs in STEM can also bring about prosperity and opportunity for millions. Yet there continues to be a pressing need to identify effective strategies to support young people’s STEM literacy and ensure that all young people can equitably access pathways to STEM careers.
EDC is promoting STEM education for the next generation of scientific innovators through its evaluation of the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). AEOP leverages the unique research and technology resources of the U.S. Army to engage, inspire, and attract young people who may be interested in pursuing STEM careers. In its capacity as an evaluation partner, EDC will help AEOP identify successes and challenges in programmatic delivery, enabling AEOP to deliver meaningful STEM experiences, competitions, and opportunities.
EDC is applying culturally responsive principles at all stages of the evaluation. These include asking questions that are grounded in community concerns; selecting culturally appropriate methodologies; incorporating program leaders’ suggestions and insights into the evaluation process; and re-centering issues of race, power, inequity, and diversity in the evaluation. The team is carrying out the following activities:
- Employ a mixed-method design to document program implementation and assess the effect of the program on participants
- Design interactive, visually appealing and user-friendly reporting formats along with data dashboards
- Support AEOP consortium partners with using evaluation findings to inform and support continuous program improvement
- The evaluation will provide new evidence on the extent to which AEOP meets its intended outcomes and goals as well as timely feedback to detail AEOP’s progress and processes.
- The findings will also contribute to the broader field of STEM education evaluation, providing actionable insights to support the expansion of STEM opportunities to the next generation of high-tech workers.