June 20, 2012
Two new projects have been added to the work of CEMSE’s Research and Evaluation group: The Zoo Explorers program at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and Google's Computing and Programming Experience (CAPE), a multi-week summer program conducted at Google’s Mountain View and New York City locations. Both are out-of-school programs designed to stimulate students’ interest in STEM topics.
The Zoo Explorers offers teachers, students, and chaperones a 55-minute inquiry based, focused field trip that aligns with the research of scientists at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Each field trip is facilitated by a trained zoo educator, who is supported by the classroom teacher and chaperones. Topics vary by grade level and include animal habitats, behaviors, and classification. The program seeks to provide educators and students with inquiry-based experience at the zoo and support students in building data collection and analysis skills. Visit the Zoo Explorers website for more information about the program. CEMSE will use a mixed methods based evaluation based on questions derived from the project goals. The evaluation will include elements of process evaluation and progress evaluation in addition to the summative evaluation. Data collection includes interviews, questionnaires, observations, and review of student work.
Google's Computing and Programming Experience (CAPE) is designed to inspire excitement about computer science for incoming 9th grade students. The evaluation has two strands. The first focuses on working with program leaders to clearly articulate the CAPE program model and theory of action. The second focuses on evaluation of the preparation for, and implementation of, CAPE 2012. The evaluation has both formative and summative components and will provide timely feedback to help inform the design and implementation process as well as determine CAPE’s impact, and make recommendations future improvements. CEMSE’s evaluation will focus on three main goals: (1) articulation of a clear CAPE model and development of the capacity to spread that model; (2) development of CAPE faculty capacity to facilitate CAPE experiences and teach computer science; and (3) content and attitudinal outcomes for youth. This evaluation employs a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods to answer the research questions. Data sources include youth questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and product or artifact review; faculty interviews; observations of weekend summit and CAPE summer activities; and meetings and interviews with CAPE leadership. For more information about the program, visit the Google CAPE website.