AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 22. Astronomy Education Resources
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[22.11] Implementing a Formative Evaluation Plan for the Princeton Earth Physics Project

J. M. Bailey (Astronomy Dept., Univ. Arizona), R. A. Phinney (Geosciences Dept., Princeton Univ.), T. F. Slater (Astronomy Dept., Univ. Arizona), D. J. Steinberg (Geosciences Dept., Princeton Univ.)

Since 1997, the Princeton Earth Physics Project (PEPP) has supported the distribution of seismometers to approximately 70 schools across the country, sponsored by faculty hosts at nearby universities. The main goal of PEPP is to get students and teachers involved in doing authentic, hands-on science by providing them with a seismometer for geological data acquisition. After three years, less than half of the schools are still actively operating stations. A formative project evaluation was conducted during the 2000-2001 academic year to determine the effectiveness of the PEPP program. The evaluation focus was to understand the characteristics and infrastructure of those schools that are successfully operating stations and to recommend program changes that would facilitate increased participation in the future. Evaluators first held a series of exploratory interviews with select participants to determine the issues they felt were highest priority. From these interviews we developed a survey that was administered online to all participants. Finally, follow-up interviews were conducted with participants to further explore details of the survey results.

Despite many technological improvements made during the program, there are still several technical problems being faced by some teacher-participants. Active teacher-participants are utilizing PEPP throughout the school year in a wide manner of applications, ranging from displaying earthquake data to class triangulation activities to independent research projects by students. Many participants feel that PEPP supports national and state science education standards efforts very well; in particular, inquiry and technology issues in the standards are strongly supported by a program such as this. Unfortunately, there is very little known at this point about the impact that PEPP might have on student learning. There were a significant number of informal observations made by the evaluators presented to the principal investigators as well.

This work was supported in part by NSF REC 9903153.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://lasker.princeton.edu. 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: jbailey@as.arizona.edu

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