NFB STEM2U Regional Evaluation Report: Columbus

November 18th, 2015 | EVALUATION

As part of a grant from the National Science Foundation, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is conducting regional STEM workshops in partnership with local science museums, entitled NFB STEM2U, for blind youth [youth], grades 3 – 6 and 9-12. During the third regional workshop in Columbus, Ohio, the NFB operated two different programs simultaneously: one program for youth, and a second program for their parents/caregivers. A third program, for COSI (science center) staff, was conducted earlier to prepare the museum staff to assist with the youth program. A separate report will discuss the teen apprentices (grade 9 – 12) that participated in a leadership academy and all three regional programs. The youth program involved small groups of youth working with blind teen mentors to complete STEM-related activities. The parent/caregiver program focused on STEM resources that could help their children, connecting parents to the NFB network and the resources it offers, and sharing ideas on how parents/caregivers could advocate for their child’s rights in the school and community setting. The museum staff program focused on staff members’ awareness of issues faced by blind visitors to the museum, and provided strategies to assist blind museum visitors explore STEM concepts. The evaluation questions for this program were: 1. What happens in the regional programs for each of the audiences? 2. What are perceptions of each audience in terms of appropriateness, value, and intentions emerging from the regional program? 3. In what ways does each audience see the program affecting their work (adult audiences) or their potential educational and career paths (youth)? 4. How does this experience affect the individual and their understanding of blind youth and STEM? The Lifelong Learning Group was contracted to conduct an evaluation for the grant, focusing on the affective outcomes of the project through youth and adult perceptions of the efficacy and value of the training and experience from their various perspectives. Methods Data for this program evaluation were collected from three different audiences using three methods. Data for the youth program were collected from the youth and their parents/caregivers. Data for the parent/caregiver and museum programs were collected from those specific audiences. During the course of the regional programs, the evaluation team observed the parent/caregiver and youth programs in order to note the flow and intersections of the sessions and how different components serve the desired outcomes from a design perspective. During each program, evaluators did pulse interviews, asking participants questions in order to determine if participants were realizing the desired program outcomes. At the conclusion of the program, the younger participants were invited to respond to questions about the program using an oral questioning route. The adult participants were invited to respond to computer-based questionnaires tied to each of the programs (parent/caretaker, and science-museum staff) at the final program meeting and via e-mail from the NFB staff. Data were analyzed collectively. During analysis, categories of participant responses about their knowledge were developed inductively through the coding process (i.e., they emerged from the data itself rather than being prescribed). Quantitative data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS); descriptive statistics were used to present overall patterns in the data.



Team Members

National Federation for the Blind, Contributor
Mary Ann Wojton, Evaluator, Lifelong Learning Group
Joe E Heimlich, Evaluator, Lifelong Learning Group


Funding Source: NSF
Award Number: 1322855

Related URLs

Full-Scale Development: National Center for Blind Youth in Science


Access and Inclusion: People with Disabilities
Audience: Adults | Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Families | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: General STEM
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Peer-reviewed article
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Public Programs | Summer and Extended Camps