The nationwide drops in state standardized test scores during the pandemic demonstrated one reason why it is important to use multiple measures, but also that it is important to use measures beyond achievement data. In this month’s blog post we will explore a variety of ways K-12 projects can demonstrate engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
To use course enrollment there will need to be a list of courses established. For STEM engagement, SEG often uses a list of STEM courses that would be considered optional or advanced. Examples of potential indicators using this data might include:
The number or percentage of students enrolled in at least one advanced/optional STEM course
The number of seats filled in advanced/optional STEM courses
The average number of advanced/optional STEM courses with student enrollment
The number of students enrolling in STEM-related certificates can also be an indicator of engagement. These might be STEM-related Career and Technical Education Endorsements or professional certifications. Examples of potential indicators might include:
The number or percentage of students enrolled in a STEM-related certification program
The number or percentage of students who have earned a STEM-related certificate
Engagement in extracurricular STEM activities can be used as a measure. Often when people think of extracurricular activities they think about afterschool clubs and organizations, but this could also be clubs that happen during the school day, family events, and enrichment opportunities. Examples of potential indicators might include:
The number or percentage of students participating in STEM-related extracurricular activities
Student surveys are frequently used for measuring student outcomes, but not always used to measure engagement. Project directors may consider using pulse surveys or exit surveys to measure STEM engagement. Pulse surveys are brief surveys that can be administered with varying frequencies (e.g., monthly, quarterly). Exit feedback forms can be used to measure students’ experiences with an event such as a lab activity, visit from a STEM professional, or field trip. These can be designed to include as few as 2-3 questions to capture engagement at the end of the activity. Examples of potential indicators from surveys and feedback forms might include:
The percentage of students interested in STEM Careers
The percentage of students interested in pursuing a STEM degree in the future
The percentage of students who “agreed” or “strongly agreed” they had fun with an activity
The percentage of students who “agreed” or “strongly agreed” they enjoy the STEM activities they complete in class
Although STEM examples are used, these types of measures and indicators can be applied to all content areas. During the evaluation planning process, Shaffer Evaluation Group works with clients to design a series of measures that are responsive to your project’s needs and can effectively demonstrate success. If you are interested in partnering with SEG, we would love to talk with you!