AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 101. Astronomy Education
Oral, Friday, January 14, 2000, 2:00-3:30pm, Regency V

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[101.08] Everything You Wanted to Know about Evaluating Your Astronomy Education Project But Were Afraid to Ask

T.F. Slater, C. Skala (Montana State Univ.), K.J. Meech (Univ. of Hawaii Inst. for Astronomy), J.P. Adams (Montana State Univ.)

It is becoming common for research astronomers to become involved with, and often lead, astronomy education projects for K-18 levels and outreach to the general public. Typically, these projects have three principle goals: (i) increase the general astronomy background knowledge of participants; (ii) enhance the participants' life-long attitudes toward astronomy, and science in general; and (iii) increase participants' skills toward using astronomy (high quality teaching by teachers, advanced observing by amateurs, science-positive voting by legislators, etc.). As many financially sponsoring foundations or agencies now require a project evaluation, research astronomers are being asked to document the effectiveness and impact of their activities. Evaluation plans are often presented in proposals as a matrix with rows indicating the specific project goals and outcomes with columns showing project activities, assessment data sources and analysis strategies, and performance indicators of success. Astronomy knowledge increases are commonly measured by pre- and posttests, enhanced attitudes with pre- and posttest Likert scale surveys with responses ranging from "(1) strongly agree" to "(5) strongly disagree," and improved skills by clinical interviews or observation checklists. Quantitative data can be validated qualitatively using individual or group interviews with participants; however, the evaluation results that are often the most convincing employ a triangulated, multi-data source approach to assessing stated project goals which use a combination both quantitative and qualitative data.

This work supported in part by NSF TE 9731083 and NASA #NAG5-4576.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.physics.montana.edu/physed. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tslater@physics.montana.edu

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