Research

The Power of Discovery: STEM2 Evaluation

Investigator: Deborah Lowe Vandell

Funding: Samueli Foundation; Observations funded by the Bechtel Foundation

Project Description

The Power of Discovery: STEM2 Initiative is an ambitious, comprehensive project that seeks to promote young people’s engagement with, interest in, and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subject matter by capitalizing on the opportunities for high-quality STEM learning experiences that can be afforded by out-of-school time (OST) programs. The Initiative seeks to increase the capacity of OST programs in California to offer rich, hands-on learning opportunities in the STEM domain.

Researchers at UC Irvine, under the direction of Deborah Lowe Vandell, are responsible for studying links between the Initiative’s efforts to support the frequency and quality of STEM opportunities in OST programs, with staff and student outcomes.

For the Year 1 Evaluation study, measures were piloted, including online student and staff outcome measures and STEM Activity Documentation (SAD) forms. 

The Year 2 Evaluation study included a larger sample of sites from OST programs enlisted by the project’s five Regional Support Providers and for which the Initiative intentionally supports the implementation of high-quality STEM activities. The study included the administration of the Year 1 piloted measures to document changes in STEM-related program practices and student and staff outcomes.

The Year 3 study includes observations and interviews at a subsample of participating sites.