An Informal STEM Outcomes Framework to Drive Creative and Culturally Inclusive Planning, Design, and Evaluation

AUTHORS: Deborah Wasserman, Colleen Popson, and Laura Weiss Informal STEM learning institutions, educators, and evaluators face a unique challenge. Each institution sponsors a wide array of programming for all sorts of learners. Educational interactions can range from two- or three-minute interactions to multi-year intensive programming. An educator with a hands-on activity cart in a museum … Read more

Retrospective pre-posttests are ideal for evaluating many informal learning experiences

Authors and affiliations Rebecca Cors, Wisconsin Center for Education Research Christine Bell, Wisconsin Center for Education Research Introduction Many education program managers use traditional pretest-posttest (TPT) surveys to evaluate how people’s attitudes, awareness, and behaviors changed after they experience an interactive exhibit. However, surveying visitors both before and after they interact with an exhibit can … Read more

A Survey to Measure a Sense of Belonging at Museums and Cultural Centers

Introduction Although science museums are making efforts to become more inclusive and relevant, they are still not for everyone. Some people would never consider visiting one, even if they pass by it daily (Dawson, 2014). Many factors feed into this feeling (e.g., systemic racism and bias that make science museums irrelevant to many, architecture that belittles nonwhite guests). But … Read more

Assessing Museum Impact: A Pilot for Formal Research

by John W. Jacobsen, Laura Roberts, David Ellis, George Hein, and Lynn Bau With gratitude for the support of the New England Museum Association (NEMA) Introduction One of the museum field’s most challenging needs is to find ways to measure, articulate, and increase a museum’s desired impacts. In response, the Assessing Museum Impact (AMI) pilot research project explored … Read more

Setting the Stage for Success: Evaluation and Evaluators

This blog was co-written with Karen Peterman and Cecilia Garibay. See additional author information at the end of the blog. It’s finally fall—temperatures are starting to cool, the leaves will soon begin to change, and the proposal deadline for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program is just around the corner. … Read more

Webinar Recording Posted on STEM Identity, Interest, and Engagement

Thank you to everyone who attended our recent webinar on defining and measuring STEM interest, identity, and engagement! We hope that it exposed you to new perspectives on these concepts and inspired you to explore new approaches and tools for your informal STEM education work. Watch the recording below and download the presentation slides. More … Read more

Exploring What We Know—and Don’t Know—at the Visitor Studies Association Conference

The Visitor Studies Association, a professional organization dedicated to understanding and enhancing learning experiences in informal settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue, recently convened in Detroit for its annual conference. The meeting drew attendees from large and small organizations across the United States, as well as over one dozen international attendees. Many professional researchers and … Read more

EvalFest Training Videos: A How-To for Data Collection, Management, and Analysis

Karen Peterman, president of Karen Peterman Consulting, Co., co-wrote this blog. Along with Todd Boyette, Katherine and Karen lead EvalFest, a community of practice that develops, tests, and shares evaluation approaches for science festivals. In the mid-2000s, just a handful of American science festivals were in existence. Since then, the number of festivals has grown significantly. … Read more

CAISE Convenes ISE & SciComm Professionals to Discuss Common Evaluation Issues

On August 23 and 24, 2018, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) Evaluation and Measurement Task Force brought together a small group of informal STEM education (ISE) and science communication (SciComm) professionals. Generously hosted by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the convening was designed to open up the … Read more