Summative Evaluation: Climate Change and Resiliency

April 26th, 2019 | EVALUATION

RK&A conducted a summative evaluation of five climate change and resiliency programs at the Science Museum of Virginia (SMV).  The summative evaluation was the culmination of a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—front-end and formative evaluations were completed in the two years prior. The goal of this evaluation was to test the extent to which the programs achieved the intended visitor outcomes defined in SMV’s Impact Framework.

How did we approach this study?

The summative evaluation focused on five programs—the Digital Dome theater’s “Cosmic Climate Cookbook” video; the Extreme Event Challenge; Science on a Sphere; Ready Rowhomes “Preparing for a Wetter, Hotter Virginia” program; and the Climate Connections Lecture Series.  It combined program observations and telephone interviews with program participants.  A total of 52 interviews were conducted across the five programs—data collection faced several challenges, including low response rate to outreach and a limited pool of program participants to recruit from.

What did we learn?

Overall, summative results indicate that the programs evaluated are largely successful in achieving their intended outcomes, with a few limitations. Together, the suite of climate change and resiliency programming offered by SMV provides a complementary balance of climate science (Digital Dome, Science on a Sphere, and Lecture Series) and resiliency (Extreme Event Challenge and Ready Rowhomes). One area for continued growth for SMV is working to battle the sense of hopelessness that sometimes accompanies addressing a problem at the scale of climate change. In particular, visitors need help to understand the value of individual action in making an impact on climate change.



Team Members

Stephanie Downey, Evaluator, RK&A Inc
Katie Chandler, Evaluator, RK&A Inc


Funding Source: NOAA


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Climate
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Films and IMAX | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Programs | Planetarium and Science on a Sphere | Public Programs