STEPS Summative Evaluation Report

May 24th, 2013 | EVALUATION

User Experience Research Consulting (UXR) conducted a summative evaluation of the NSF-ISE funded project, STEPS (Science Theater Education Programming System). The STEPS project brought together a network of informal science educators and contractors to create an interactive museum theater authoring and presentation system to increase educational capacity for small and large museums across the country. The software package includes an authoring tool for the creation of multimedia science theater productions; a presentation player for displaying the shows to audiences in museum theaters, planetariums, and in outreach facilities; a web-based tutorial for the astrobiology content and STEPS software; and three pre-packaged shows varying in length and dramatic effects to showcase the potential uses of STEPS for informal science learners ages 7-12. The professional development of the of informal science educators in the network was the primary goal of the project with all other tangible deliverables stemming from that collaborative effort. This evaluation report synthesizes key analysis and findings from data based on longitudinal surveys, diary studies, and post-project interviews with the network partners; usability surveys with other museums professionals; and a quasi-experimental pre/post-show survey with students viewing one of the completed astrobiology shows. Throughout the evaluation, STEPS was shown to be effective in achieving the goals set forth in the original proposal, particularly with respect to the professional development of the information science educators in the network. Year 4 research will build on these findings and identify the long-lasting impacts of a project like STEPS on the professional identity and self-efficacy of informal science educators. The appendix of this report includes survey and interview protocols used in the study.



Team Members

Jes A. Koepfler, Evaluator, UXR Consulting
University of Colorado, Denver, Contributor


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1043060
Funding Amount: 739336

Related URLs
STEPS - ScienceTheater Education Programming System: A Vehicle for Professional Development, Enhancing Professional Identity, and Communicating Science


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Interview Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Planetarium and Science on a Sphere | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Public Programs | Theater Programs