STEM Education

Rockman et al examines issues in science education across grade levels, disciplines, and learning environments, ranging from museums, to K-12 schools, to summer camps and after-school programs. We have developed a strong reputation for providing research and evaluation in the area of informal learning initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), particularly as external evaluators for projects funded by NSF, NIH, and NASA. Many of our STEM education projects utilize our expertise in media and technology. We have examined STEM learning in the context of websites, apps, public television and radio series, digital badge systems, 3-D movies and art education.

We customize each evaluation for each client, and are knowledgable about federal grant-funded initiatives. We also facilitate partnerships with educators, scientists and university faculty, and provide technical assistance to support self-evaluation and internal research. Please browse selected examples of our projects below to learn more about past work. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your project with you and to provide you with more information about our tailored services. Contact Us to schedule a free 30-minute Q&A session with a consultant.

Selected Projects Include

  • Jackson State University: Mississippi Academy for Science Teaching (MAST)

    Rockman et al has served as the external evaluator for four professional development programs provided by Jackson State University for science teachers in elementary, middle and high school. REA has employed a mixed methods approach, including pre- and post surveys, qualitative interviews, and observations to measure the quality of implementation and impacts on teachers and students. Our most recent evaluation, a long-term impact study of MAST alums between 2004-2014, showed that MAST can achieve meaningful and sustained impacts on teaching and learning.

  • Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) at University of Utah

    Since 2006, REA has worked with the University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) on evaluation projects for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conference presentations, and peer-reviewed publications. Our collaborations have included conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the impact of high school curriculum supplements on cell biology and epigenetics, and documenting the process of curriculum and assessment development for a National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 project on evolution and common ancestry. REA and the GSLC co-authored a paper on randomized controlled trials and a primer on instrument development. They have co-presented on evaluation and educational research topics, such as mixed-methods designs, program implementation and assessment development, at the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education annual meetings.

  • The Crowd & the Cloud

    The Crowd & the Cloud is designed to increase the visibility and credibility of, and participation in projects using citizen science as well as Big Data to address key global and local challenges, including: public health, air and water quality, climate change, and biodiversity. The series will consist of four nationally broadcast documentary programs, a 2nd screen app, website, and social media materials. Rockman et al will conduct audience research and usability testing with the general public, citizen science participants, and scientists to inform development. REA will also conduct the summative evaluation to assess the impact of the project’s media, which includes pre-post surveys, a quasi-experimental study of the traditional broadcast versus the app-enhanced version, phone interviews, and a series of focus groups. To evaluate engagement with online materials, REA will examine the program’s social media and website analytics and samples of website discourse. Read more about the series in this article from the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education.

  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific Galileo Educator Network (GEN)

    With funding from NASA, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) developed the Galileo Educator Network (GEN), which prepared teacher educators nationwide to design and deliver professional development workshops on astronomy content and science practices aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). REA collected surveys and observations to describe the ways in which GEN engaged K-12 teachers and promoted the effective use of NASA-developed resources. REA presented its evaluation findings at two ASP annual meetings.

  • National Study of Bill Nye the Science Guy

    Bill Nye the Science Guy is a high energy, inquiry-based educational television program presenting science content directed at fourth grade students. This study investigated learning outcomes among school-age viewers and assessed the impacts of various outreach efforts for youth and adult viewers. The study findings suggest that program viewers were able to provide more complete and more complex explanations of science concepts and were able to learn facts presented in the program to support explanations of science concepts. Findings also suggest that the program was successful in helping to reduce gaps in science knowledge, understanding and aptitude between boys and girls, and for students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

  • Bay Area Video Coalition Bridges to STEM Careers

    REA conducted a formative and summative evaluation of Bay Area Video Coalition’s Bridges to STEM Careers, a three-year Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program Improvement Project designed to enhance the relevance of technician education in Computer Science and Multimedia. The project targeted two-year college students, their families and their college and workplace mentors. The ultimate goal of the Bridges project was to keep traditionally underrepresented and low-income students in the STEM pipeline by demystifying the process of preparing for a STEM career through internships and informational videos from past internship participants.

  • Computer History Museum “Get Invested”

    Rockman conducted formative and summative evaluation of the Computer History Museum’s ‘Get Invested’ program. ‘Get Invested’ uses design thinking and project-based learning to engage high school students with the concepts, challenges, opportunities, and processes involved in innovation and entrepreneurship. REA evaluated program impact at high school locations in California and Mexico.

  • Museum of Science and Industry “Our Place in Space”

    Rockman et al is the external evaluator for “Our Place in Space,” a professional development program for formal and informal science educators designed and implemented by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, with funding from NASA. Through observations, surveys, and interviews, REA is studying how the program helps prepare educators to cover Next Generation Science Standards and implement a series of high-quality STEM instructional activities. REA’s evaluation seeks to demonstrate the value of the program as well as suggest potential areas for improvements in subsequent programming.

  • Science Museum of Minnesota “Journey to Space”

    REA conducted a summative evaluation for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s ‘Journey to Space’ exhibit, examining the extent to which the exhibit gave visitors a memorable experience about what it is like to be in space, and increased their awareness and understanding of the systems engineering required to support living and working in space. Evaluation methods included visitor intercepts, onsite and online surveys, think alouds, and pre- and post-group activities. The exhibition will tour twelve major science museums across North America and reach upwards of three and a quarter million families, adults, teachers, and students over six years.

  • American Museum of Natural History Space Shows

    Rockman et al has conducted evaluative studies on four dome-style planetarium shows created by the American Museum for Natural History. Rockman’s evaluations of “The Search for Life,” “Cosmic Collisions,” “Journey to the Stars” and “Dark Universe” have examined audience responses to the shows and a range of outocomes including attitudes toward science, interst in science, and content knowledge. We’ve conducted research at several planetaria around the United States to better understand the impact of presentaion context, and with a variety of audiences in order to understand the impacts that programming has on audience members of all ages and prior knowledge levels.

  • Exploratorium Carbon Networks

    REA is the external evaluator for ‘Carbon Networks,’ a federally-funded project which is a collaboration between the Exploratorium, the Pacific Science Center, and the Waikiki Aquarium. This project aims to assist museum educators in building capacity for developing educational programs and activities for public audiences and formal educators on the topics of climate change and ocean acidification. REA is conducting formative evaluations of educator workshops and summative evaluation of program impacts at each of the participating institutions, using online surveys, interviews and observations.

  • Coastal Marine Biolabs – Neurolab M3

    NeuroLab M3 is a comprehensive research education program that carefully guides high school students through a series of in-depth, interdisciplinary, and discovery-based explorations of scientific models, model organisms, and model systems in developmental neuroscience. The 5-year project includes immersive residential research institutes in comparative functional genomics for rising juniors and seniors. The evaluation will examine outcomes for participating students using longitudinal surveys and content knowledge tests.