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Session 15 - Teaching of Astronomy.
Display session, Monday, June 10
Great Hall,

[15.06] Formative Evaluation of the American Astronomical Society Teacher Resource Agent Program

J. P. Barufaldi (Sci. Ed. Ctr., UT-Austin), M. K. Hemenway (Astr. Dept., UT-Austin)

This paper will present data to ascertain how well the AASTRA project is meeting its program goals. The goals of AASTRA are: to use astronomy as a vehicle to promote activity-based science teaching to enhance the teaching of astronomy in elementary and secondary schools to bring science education in line with the national topical goals as reflected by the NRC National Science Education Standards, AAAS' Project 2061, and NSTA Scope, Sequence, and Coordination projects to provide astronomy workshops to elementary and secondary teachers using hands-on astronomy activities to encourage the professionalism of the participants to increase interactions among professional astronomers, science educators, and elementary/secondary school teachers. Qualitative and quantitative information collected by the evaluation team are used in an on-going evaluation of the program. Among the data collected are: baseline information about the participants, observations at the summer institute, interviews with a random sample of participants, and reflective surveys concerning the effectiveness of the goals and progress of the participants (administered 10-months following the summer institute). In addition, each teacher who attends a peer-led workshop completes an evaluation instrument. These forms and summaries of the workshops are submitted by the agents to the AASTRA office. The summer-institute site directors, astronomy education consultant, and project manager monitor a sample of the peer-led workshops through personal visits. Modifications to the project based on this on-going evaluation are used to improve the quality of the delivery of the program. AASTRA is supported by NSF under grant ESI 93-53377 and the AAS. Additional support is provided by Loyola University of Chicago, Northern Arizona University of Flagstaff, University of Maryland at College Park, and the University of Texas at Austin.

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