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Center for Educational Technologies projects have ended (except Challenger Learning Center) and are no longer funded.

WJU Evaluation Report Earns International Award

Tue Apr 1 2008

A report by the Center for Educational Technologies® culminating four years of evaluation of the NASA Explorer Schools (NES) program has been honored with an award in a distinguished international competition.

Image of three authorsThe report, "NASA Explorer Schools Project Evaluation: Summer 2003 to Spring 2006 Final Report," tied for second place in the Outstanding Publications Competition, Division H, Category 4: Program Evaluation sponsored by the American Education Research Association (AERA). This competition is recognized as the top event in the field of education research.

Authoring the report were Laurie Ruberg, Ph.D., associate director of the Center for Educational Technologies; Karen Chen, Ph.D., educational researcher; and Judy Martin, implementation research coordinator.

"This is a wonderful form of recognition for the CET research team that worked so hard to produce this final report that encompassed three years of evaluation work," said Ruberg, who led the team. "It means so much that professionals in our field regarded our work as exemplary and selected our report for recognition from the pool of 31 eligible international submissions."

The Center for Educational Technologies was charged with evaluating the NASA Explorer Schools program since its inception in 2003. In its report the evaluation team examined how effectively the NES program achieved its goals for teacher professional development, assistance for technology use by educators, family involvement, and student interest, knowledge, and abilities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and geography.

The evaluation demonstrated that successful implementation of the NES project at participating schools was associated with significant increases in teacher use of effective instructional strategies, integration of educational technology, family involvement, and student interest and achievement in science and math. Teacher use of NASA materials in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) teaching was highly correlated with increased student interest in STEM topics and careers. The evaluation framework applied a blended methods approach that integrated quantitative survey and achievement scores with qualitative case study data sources. The analysis also provided recommendations for improving NES and replication efforts.

Winning first place was the "Evaluation of the Final Year of the ARTS FIRST Windward Research Project" from the University of Hawaii Curriculum Research and Development Group, Program Research and Evaluation Office. Tied for second place with the Classroom of the Future was "People and Moments in Time: Evaluation of Year 2 (2006-2007)," submitted by Edvantia of Charleston, WV.

The winners received their certificates during the 2008 AERA annual conference held March 24-28 in New York City.

The AERA Division H Outstanding Publications Competition was established more than 20 years ago to recognize, honor, and share exceptional work that increases the understanding and contributes to the practice of applied research, evaluation, assessment, and accountability in our nation's school systems.

The co-chairs of the 2008 publications competition were Judi Vanderhaar, University of Louisville/Jefferson County Public Schools, and Dr. Robert Felner, University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development.