A new study makes recommendations on how education leaders and policymakers can judge the effectiveness of informal and after-school science programs, which are fixtures in many districts.
Those programs are popular in part because they give schools and parents a way to introduce students to science in engaging, low-pressure environments.
The study, prepared for the Noyce Foundation, based in Palo Alto, Calif., calls for setting specific criteria for judging informal science programs in areas such as student engagement, acquisition of science knowledge, and reasoning skills.
It suggests forming an online database with tools for evaluating programs, as well as creating quantitative tools to assess the progress of students taking part in after-school and informal science. The Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency of Harvard University and McLean Hospital, in Belmont, Mass, conducted the study.
A version of this article appeared in the September 03, 2008 edition of Education Week