Summit on Assessment of Informal and Afterschool Science Learning

July 1st, 2012

The Board on Science Education at the National Academies, in cooperation with the Harvard Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency, recently convened a Summit on Assessment of Informal and Afterschool Science Learning in Irvine, CA. Summit participants were invited to isolate gaps in the informal science assessment field, strategize ways to work together as a field to overcome the gaps, and identify topics for long-term work. They also looked at existing informal science assessment tools in relation to the NSF Framework for Evaluating Impacts of ISE Projects, the strands of science proficiency identified in the National Research Council report Learning Science in Informal Environments, and other framework or outcome models.

The summit brought together thought leaders in the field of evaluation and assessment in informal learning, including CAISE Co-PIs John Falk, who delivered the kick off address for the meeting, and Kirsten Ellenbogen, who contributed a commissioned paper entitled Evaluation Under Pressure: Balancing the Needs of the ISE Field with the Needs of Individual Projects. CAISE Senior Advisor Alan Friedman also shared a commissioned paper entitled Attitudes of Stakeholders towards Assessment in the Informal Science Education Realm.

To read the commissioned papers and scenarios for building capacity for evaluation and assessment in the informal science education field, visit the National Academies web site. The shared papers contain useful information for professional evaluators as well as ISE practitioners interested in integrating assessment and evaluation into their programs and projects.