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Knowledge From the Field

Project Exploration: 10-year Retrospective Program Evaluation

Published: December 2010

Publisher(s): Project Exploration

Author(s): Chi, Bernadette; Juna Z. Snow

Funder(s): Noyce Foundation

Related Organization(s): Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment at the University of Califiornia, Berkeley

View Report (82 pages; 1.22MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: STEM


The study examines practices that support science learning by underrepresented youth in Chicago. It assesses the impact of a program giving low-income students of color hands-on science experience on science capacity, youth development, and engagement in communities of practice.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ Increased science capacity: Participants expressed newfound or enhanced interest in science, which contributed to reported confidence in pursuing a science-related career.

+ Positive youth development: Participants reported improvements in verbal and written communication skills, leadership skills, and confidence building.

+ Engagement in a community of practice:  The program encouraged youth to become practicing members of a community of science learners, which resulted in the nurturing of relationships among peers and further engagement in science.

= Participants viewed high school graduation or equivalency as a key accomplishment, and all survey respondents received some post-secondary education beyond high school.

- Not all participants were aware of multiple opportunities for continued participation beyond their initial involvement, and not all were able to design and lead activities.

Geographic Focus: Chicago

Subjects/Keywords:  Science/Technology; Elementary and Secondary Education; Minorities

+ Successful strategy

= Observation

-  Challenge

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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