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Media Room - Beyond Rigor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2014

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Media Contacts
Kim Ramsden, PR Director, (651) 221-9423
Sarah Imholte, PR Coordinator, (651) 221-9412

SCIENCE MUSEUM PRESIDENT CO-AUTHORS WEBSITE THAT OFFERS TOOLS FOR EVALUATING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SCIENCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS WITH DIVERSITY IN MIND, TO BE UNVEILED VIA WEBINAR ON FEBRUARY 5

BeyondRigor.org follows up on a 2004 report that suggested ways to increase the number and diversity of those pursuing education and careers in STEM fields

St. Paul, Minn. – Science Museum of Minnesota president Dr. Eric Jolly and Dr. Patricia Campbell of Campbell-Kibler Associates, Inc. in Groton, Mass., have collaborated to create BeyondRigor.org, a website that offers valuable tools for evaluators and program officers who are assessing the effectiveness of science learning programs. BeyondRigor.org encourages educators and evaluators to take a closer look at their evaluation practices and analyses with diversity in mind, and it offers tips on how to make them more accurate and inclusive.

The website's authors will introduce the site to evaluators and media during a webinar on Wednesday, February 5 at 3 p.m. CST.

To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6271148487694419970

What is BeyondRigor.org?
Jolly and Campbell reflected on the fact that, despite numerous evaluations of current science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs, we still don't know much about what programs work for whom, and in what context. With the support of the National Science Foundation, they set out to determine why this is true.

Their examination revealed that the thoroughness, or rigor, of these programs wasn't necessarily in question. Rather, in order for the results of their evaluations to be complete and accurate, they must take into account the needs, issues and goals of the different subgroups those programs are serving.

Targeting teachers, researchers, evaluators, funders and individuals who are interested in education and diversity, BeyondRigor.org offers tips and tools to improve program evaluation and better define diversity.

"In program evaluation, the phrase 'diverse populations' often refers only to racial/ethnic minorities," says Jolly. "Other defining factors – from gender to disability status to income level to military status – are often ignored, or don't carry as much weight. As individuals, though, we are not just one thing. We consist of many pieces – race, gender, age, geographic location, education level, income level, disability status, veteran status, and more – and those pieces all play a role in shaping the way we learn things and experience the world. Dr. Campbell and I suggest that we consider more than just one demographic variable when studying diversity and program effectiveness. For each study, we need to figure out the characteristics that are integral for analysis and incorporate them into the evaluation design, implementation and analysis of the results. Beyond Rigor helps us to just that."

BeyondRigor.org was born out of the research of Jolly and Campbell that resulted in a 2004 report entitled Engagement, Capacity and Continuity: A Trilogy For Student Success. That report suggests that disparate efforts to increase student success – such as teacher professional development, curriculum, mentorship, and field trips – will not be successful if the three factors of the "ECC Trilogy" are not addressed: engagement ("the spark"), capacity ("the skills") and continuity ("the pathways"). The Trilogy has become a widely-used model at all levels of formal and informal education, as well as recommended reading for those submitting proposals for education and diversity programs to federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. For more information about the Trilogy, visit http://www.smm.org/ecc.

Who benefits from BeyondRigor.org?

  • Evaluators: the site offers suggestions for making the data collection process more inclusive, the data collected more accurate, and the data analysis more rigorous.
  • Program funding officers: BeyondRigor.org helps program officers assess how well evaluations of funded programs are working, and for whom. It also presents solutions for making the data collected more responsive to the project, stakeholder and funder goals and needs.
  • Educators and individuals interested in education and diversity: the site helps us become better, more critical consumers of science learning programs by giving us the right questions to ask and presenting tools and resources for broadening participation in STEM.

To register for the BeyondRigor.org webinar on February 5, 2014 at 3 p.m. CST, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6271148487694419970

About the authors:

Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D. is president of the Science Museum of Minnesota. With world-class exhibits, one of only a few giant screen domed theaters in the world, and learning opportunities for kids, families and adults, the Science Museum is one of the top-ranked cultural attractions in the country.

Patricia Campbell, Ph.D. is president of Campbell-Kibler Associates, Inc (C-KA). For the past 30 years, C-KA has been doing educational research and evaluation in the United States and internationally, with an emphasis on science and math education and race/ethnicity and gender.

About the Science Museum of Minnesota:

The Science Museum of Minnesota is one of the state's oldest and best-known cultural institutions, with a history dating back to 1907. The museum serves hundreds of thousands of people each year with a unique combination of high-tech entertainment, engaging exhibitions, and a world-class collection of fossils and artifacts spanning billions of years of the earth's history. For more information or to plan a Science Museum trip, visit www.smm.org.

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