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STEM data dashboard updated with spring/summer 2017 data

Posted on November 8th, 2017 in: Blog

Beginning in 2016, Vermont Afterschool has partnered with the PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education & Resilience (PEAR), an organization that creates and fosters evidence-based innovations for education. Their Common Instrument tool is used to assess child and adolescent interest and engagement in science and/or engineering. We worked with the PEAR team to develop three versions of the Common Instrument to be used by Vermont students in grades K-12 that attend STEM-related afterschool and summer learning programming – tinkering, science, and engineering. These instruments included the questions from the Common Instrument in addition to measures from PEAR’s Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) to measure critical thinking and perseverance (for tinkering students), as well as collaboration and teamwork (for science and engineering students).

In spring of 2016, 199 students that participated in a total of 13 tinkering programs throughout Vermont completed assessments. The corresponding results were posted in our first iteration of our STEM data dashboard last year. This past spring and summer, a total of 281 students enrolled in 20 tinkering, science and engineering programs throughout the state completed assessments. The aggregated results from both years appear on our newly updated STEM data dashboard.

The updated dashboard includes the results as analyzed by PEAR for the students in the science, engineering, and tinkering programs in spring and summer of 2017. PEAR found that overall, Vermont students in all three types of programs reported overall gains in science/engineering interest as a result of participating in their programs. Tinkering students reported significant gains in their critical thinking abilities and perseverance. PEAR did not provide a statistical analysis for collaboration and teamwork gains among science and engineering students, but as seen in the charts below, students on average expressed that they felt more able to do things like “help people with their projects,” and “change my mind when other people have better ideas,” as a result of participating in their programs.

Compared with the rest of the nation, PEAR found that Vermont students reported significantly higher ratings of science/engineering interest as a result of participating in science and engineering programs. In particular, Vermont girls that participated in science programs reported significantly higher levels of science interest than girls at the national level. Both Vermont boys and girls reported significantly higher ratings of engineering interest than their national counterparts for those who participated in such programs in 2017.

To view our interactive data dashboard updated with results from the spring/summer 2017 programs, visit: http://www.vermontafterschool.org/stem/data. Results can be filtered by various criterion for comparison purposes.

You can also learn more about PEAR at www.pearweb.org.

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