STEMTEC Evaluation Report For Year 4 (Fall 2000/Spring 2001)

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Year 4 evaluation of STEMTEC was extremely comprehensive, involving surveys of students and faculty, interviews with faculty and campus coordinators, analysis of course evaluation data, and classroom observations.  In the final chapter of this report we provide a brief summary and some recommendations.  In this Executive Summary, we briefly describe some of the most pertinent findings.

 

1) STEMTEC has had a positive impact on reinvigorating science and math teaching on college campuses

 

The results conclusively indicate that STEMTEC has had a positive effect on getting math and science teachers to reform their teaching to facilitate student-active learning.  The faculty survey, the student surveys, the campus coordinator interviews, and the classroom observations all provided data that the STEMTEC teaching philosophy is being successfully applied in STEMTEC classrooms.  For example:

 

·        A survey of STEMTEC faculty found that all of the responding faculty were using STEMTEC advocated teaching and assessment practices with 63% using them “to a great extent.”

 

·        The faculty survey also revealed that 85% of STEMTEC faculty have their students working in pairs or small groups more often than before STEMTEC; 70% are using more whole class discussions, and 61% are incorporating more hands-on activities.

 

·        STEMTEC faculty rated the support offered by STEMTEC in a very positive light.  All respondents reported that the course redesign and development was very good (85%) or good (15%).  Ongoing course support was rated very good (50%) or good (38%) by the majority of respondents.

 

·        Systematic classroom observations found that hands-on activities, teacher interaction with students, small group discussions, and writing work are being implemented in STEMTEC classrooms.  Results of the student survey supported this finding.  Seventy-five percent of student respondents indicated that they worked in small groups often.

 

·        Seven of eight campus coordinators reported that the teaching reform aspect of STEMTEC is one of its most important accomplishments.  STEMTEC professors’ reformed teaching practices have filtered into their non-STEMTEC courses and into the teaching done by non-STEMTEC faculty, as well.  The coordinators are confident that these teaching improvements will persevere, with faculty unlikely to return to their “old ways.”

 


2. STEMTEC has had a positive impact on the improvement of K-12 mathematics and science teacher preparation

 

            The evaluation results suggest that STEMTEC is providing rewarding teaching experiences for many math and science students.  The teaching scholars rated their teaching experiences highly, and the campus coordinators thought this was one of the most positive aspects of the program.  In addition, many of the faculty incorporated teaching experiences into their classes or invited K-12 teachers into their classes.  Other faculty reported that more needs to be done in this area and requested help from STEMTEC to coordinate K-12 connections. 

 

3) STEMTEC has had limited success in fostering collaboration among its constituents

 

            The Collaborative is operating on all eight campuses and participating faculty seem to be in touch with the program.  However, it appears the program is running well on each individual campus, but that the inter-campus aspects of the program could be improved.  Both the campus coordinators and STEMTEC faculty called for more inter-campus dialogue and professional development activities.  Specifically:

 

·        Top-down information sharing among the collaborative institutions is in place.  Of the 28 faculty members who completed surveys, 88% felt that the mechanism for information dissemination established by the STEMTEC program was good or very good.

 

·        Several campus coordinators felt that STEMTEC is not truly collaborative since there is not much inter-campus collaboration among faculty.   These coordinators felt that the inter-campus dialogue STEMTEC created during its first two years has lost momentum.

 

4) STEMTEC has fallen short of its goal to recruit underrepresented minorities into the math and science teaching profession

 

            Although STEMTEC is increasing math and science students’ interest in teaching, it does not appear to be achieving success in recruiting underrepresented minorities into the math and science teaching profession. This finding was particularly evident from the campus coordinator interviews. The difficulty of this task is acknowledged, but the importance of this project goal warrants further efforts to try to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups