Improving the Training: Educators Evaluate the Program That Teaches Them STEM Skills

August 15, 2008

This is the third part of a three-part entry. Read part one.

As a professional-development incentive, teachers who participate in the eighty hours of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) institutes aligned to the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards will receive a letter of completion. To receive the letter, teachers will have to submit for review an e-portfolio with their STEM projects.

In fall 2009, each teacher will present his or her STEM project to all stakeholders in this program and share their personal and professional experiences, plus what they've learned during the application of their new skills in the classroom.

For effective evaluation, the project will develop a logic model based on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Logic Model Development Guide. The evaluation will seek to link outcomes, both short term and long term, with the program's activities, processes, tools, and actions. We will post the research about the effectiveness of this grant program for public access on the Kamaile Public Charter School Web site, in blogs such as this one on, and at conferences.

The evaluation will show the strengths and weaknesses of the program and help the partnership identify how well teachers are using what they've learned to integrate STEM and Web 2.0 technology projects into their classrooms. Using multiple data-collection measures will increase the validity and reliability of the study. During the institute sessions, and in monthly follow-up meetings, we'll gather information through teacher self-reporting (reflective questionnaires and interviews) and by observing teachers' skill sets during the summer institute.

All stakeholders will fill out an evaluation form after each institute to assess improvement. Qualitative evaluation will involve site visits and observations in the classroom as well as individual and focus-group interviews to provide formative feedback for the grant program.

This formative evaluation will ensure that the project is achieving its goals, provide a firm understanding of what participants learned during this experience, and support the grant program as a foundation for a future STEM center for students and the community. During the fall institute and first two follow-up meetings, the teachers will work with the external evaluator, institute leaders, and grant partners to develop the rubrics we'll use to measure the program's goals and to confirm that the benchmarks are realistic and attainable.

The summative evaluation will provide an objective analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of the program for students and teachers. This evaluation will track the project's goals and objectives and measure its success, starting with teacher-participant recruitment and applications and culminating in the Sally Ride Science Camp in July 2009.

The grant partners will create a newsletter twice a year to disseminate information about teacher activities and progress in the grant program. On the Kamaile Academy Web site, you'll be able to view teacher testimonies about the impact of this project on their daily lives in the classroom as well as student comments about the opportunities they now can see in STEM-related careers. There will be a statewide forum with key leaders from Hawaii's STEM community to inform and initiate discussions about this program as a foundation for the aforementioned STEM center that will help students shape their own futures.

Providing teachers with the content knowledge, Web 2.0 tools, and technology for their classrooms will assist them in engaging and motivating their students to attain the STEM skill sets needed for careers that will break the cycle of poverty in their lives.

If you have an interest in any part of this grant framework and would like to partner with us at Kamaile to engage your teachers in similar institutes in your own community, please let me know in your blog responses. The spirit of aloha is to share, and we all know in our hearts that none of us can afford to wait. Our teachers and children need us now.

Please share your thoughts about this initiative.

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