- To improve attitudes, motivation, and literacy in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) subjects.
- To reach greater numbers of students with hand’s-on, inquiry-based STEM programming.
- To improve the classroom teaching of science and math in PreKindergarten, elementary, and middle schools in the Washington, DC metro area.
• RESET vs. The Nation’s Report Card
To measure RESET’s effectiveness in achieving its goal of sparking children’s enthusiasm for STEM, RESET surveys students who have completed one of its hands-on science programs on their attitudes towards science learning. The survey instrument measures attitudes towards science learning, and uses questions developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in preparing “The Nation’s Report Card.” With these metrics RESET is able to compare the responses of students in our programs with those of students nationwide who completed the NCES assessment.
Because NCES has changed the questions it asks students, RESET modified its student questionnaire starting in the 2013/14 school year to align with the NCES assessment tool. This year RESET also placed a higher priority on obtaining completed questionnaires from schools and volunteers. RESET received 504 responses to the Student Assessment Questionnaire in school year 2014–15. Responses to two questions that most directly correlate with RESET’s goal showed the positive impact that RESET volunteers have on students. Nationally, 48% of students “Often, Almost Always” or “Always Feel” that Science is one of their favorite subjects; 73% of RESET students feel that way. In the Nation’s Report Card, 59% of students like studying science “Quite a Bit or Very Much,” while 86% of RESET students respond in that manner.
• Teacher Assessment Surveys
Another tool used to measure effectiveness and impact is a questionnaire completed by the RESET classroom teacher after each program. These results are important because RESET volunteers typically work in schools for many years and even decades. Teacher feedback on the effectiveness and impact of RESET programs enables volunteers to continually improve the content and delivery of their hands-on science lessons.
• Core School Multiple Year Assessment Program
Another avenue of assessment that RESET has initiated is its new CORE School Partnership program. CORE School partnerships allow RESET to present programs to students at multiple grade levels as they advance through school. This initiative also seeks to more closely link volunteers and programs to science standards of learning, and to reach out to parents and guardians. RESET Executive Director John Meagher explains, “Ultimately, Core School Partnerships will enable RESET to compare our students’ science standardized test scores with those of students who have not experienced RESET programs. This will provide valuable information on science achievement by RESET students to supplement our current assessments of student attitudes toward science.”