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Technical Evaluation Assistance in Mathematics and Science (TEAMS)

Overview:

This Research, Evaluation and Technical Assistance project awarded to RMC Research Corporation supports the needs of the evaluation community in the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program, improving the quality of the evaluations of the MSP awards and building community capacity in evaluation design, methodology, analysis and reporting. This project conducts on-going needs assessments to ascertain barriers to high quality evaluations, provides increased access to instruments to measure a wide variety of important STEM education outcomes, and facilitates ongoing networking among MSP evaluators and investigators to improve evaluation. Evaluation design and implementation technical assistance includes direct help in determining how projects can best utilize rigorous experimental and strong quasi-experimental designs, how investigators and evaluators can best interact with schools and districts in order to ensure their cooperation, and how the findings of evaluations can best be communicated to a variety of audiences. The technical assistance will address new methodology in evaluation that includes the use of large scale, longitudinal databases of student outcomes, social network designs to examine collaboration and capacity building, and other methodologies coming from NSF programs such as Promoting Research and Innovation in Methodologies in Evaluation (PRIME).


A multi-tiered technical assistance program provides different levels of help to projects. A website, available to the all MSP projects, provides information relevant to a wide range of topics for MSP evaluation. An online Help Desk provides more detailed assistance for NSF MSP projects. An on-going analysis of evaluation plans, reports and event services that are provided through interactions with MSP projects provides examples of ways that other projects have identified and addressed barriers to robust evaluation. A series of webinars that are archived for anytime viewing address common evaluation issues that have arisen in projects.


Evaluation of funded projects is an important issue that goes well beyond the target population of the NSF and Title IIB (of the U.S. Department of Education) MSP funded projects. Increasingly, research and development projects in STEM education are being required to show evidence of impact or effectiveness of their efforts. The tools and designs that are needed to ensure that the information that is provided about those impacts is distributed across a variety of reports, journal articles and publications. This project, integrated with the ongoing MSP Learning Network, expands the support that is available for STEM educators who engage in professional development and research in STEM education.