I³: Maximizing the Impact of STEM Outreach (MISO) through Data-Driven Decision-Making
This Innovation through Institution Integration (I³) project is creatively integrating longitudinal evaluation with innovation within North Carolina State University’s K-12 STEM outreach programs, particularly those funded by NSF, to help ensure the breadth and depth of the future U.S. STEM workforce. NC State has had over 120 STEM outreach projects funded between 2003 and 2009. Among these are many funded by NSF, including through the ITEST, MSP, Noyce, GSE, AGEP, CCLI, GK-12, and ERC programs. The vision for “Maximizing the Impact of STEM Outreach (MISO) through Data-Driven Decision-Making” is an integrated institutional structure that will allow pre-college programs to think and act strategically to meet the goals below. While the first two goals are new endeavors made possible through the I³ project, all four goals are shared among all participating K-12 STEM outreach programs:
- Provide an innovative network of support and communications among University-based outreach project directors and educational evaluation experts, creating a learning community to promote sharing of best practices and innovation that will deepen the impact of NC State’s pre-college STEM programs on students’ future academic and career choices.
- Develop and demonstrate a system of data-driven planning and analysis guided by best practices to facilitate longitudinal assessment of participant outcomes through development of a common STEM Outreach Evaluation Protocol as well as a database integrating records of NC State K-12 outreach participants with NC Department of Public Instruction (NC-DPI) records and university enrollment. MISO is using a newly available NC-DPI database on public school data to longitudinally track students and teachers who have been involved in STEM outreach activities. These data, when combined with the data collected directly from those outreach programs, are becoming a powerful basis for guiding the further development and refinement of best practices.
- Use the longitudinal assessment of outreach participant outcomes within the university-wide outreach learning community to support more seamless transitions for students across critical educational junctures. MISO has a primary focus on the high school to college critical juncture.
- Broaden participation among underrepresented groups in pre-college STEM outreach activities through integrated recruitment and support strategies. In particular, MISO is furthering partnerships with the NC-Math Science Education Network (NC-MSEN), and the University of North Carolina (UNC) system as a whole, particularly the four UNC Historically Black Colleges and Universities that play an important role in supporting underrepresented student populations along the STEM pipeline.
Infrastructural changes at NC State include a full-time pre-college education coordinator, a MISO Advisory Team comprised of key program directors, quarterly workshops, shared assessment tools, and a query-based web tool for customized reports for use by all STEM outreach projects. As a result of MISO, a deep network is being established among outreach groups and partner institutions and a robust integrated database is available for ongoing analyses. The outcome will be enhanced, data-driven support of STEM oriented students across critical educational junctures.
- Project Work:
- Resource: Maximizing the Impact of STEM Outreach (MISO) Spring Workshop: Evaluating your STEM Outreach Program