Galloway, F. & Shea, M. M. (2009). Does your organization welcome participants with disabilities? A new assessment tool. Afterschool Matters, 9, 12–19.
With an increase in the enrollments of youth with disabilities in afterschool programs, organizations must evaluate if their programs truly welcome children and youth with disabilities. The authors of this study developed a valid and statistically reliable instrument, Organizational Developmental Model of Inclusion for Individuals with Disabilities (ODMI-IWD), to assist the program providers in developing policies to improve on perceived weakness in the areas of inclusion: diversity, differential treatment, congruency, motivational imperative, and experience.
Bohnert, A., Fredricks, J., and Randall, E. (2010). Capturing unique dimensions of youth organized activity involvement: Theoretical and methodological considerations. Review of Educational Research, 80(4), 576–610.
This study reviews the literature regarding current approaches to measuring participation in organized out-of-school-time (OST) activity settings and their effects on learners. The paper examines learners’ participation in terms of the dimensions of breadth, intensity, duration, and engagement, discussing the theoretical foundations and methodological approaches for each. The researchers note the dialectical nature of each of these dimensions. For example, participation is likely to become more intense (frequent and lengthy) as it endures over time, and as it endures over time it is more likely to intensify. This study provides a comprehensive overview of relevant measurement issues and approaches.
Jakobsson, A., Mäkitalo, Å. & Säljö, R. (2009). Conceptions of knowledge in research on students' understanding of the greenhouse effect. Science Education, 93(6), 978–995.
This study suggests that the assessment of students’ understanding of scientific vocabulary, concepts, and reasoning associated with the greenhouse effect may be better accomplished by observing and understanding learners’ developing language use over time. The indication of previous research that students hold tenacious misconceptions may be an artifact of the questionnaires used. The authors argue that listening to student conversations is the key to better recognize learning. This paper can help ISE educators think more deeply about how and when to assess for student understanding, including considering most appropriate and informative methods.
Barriault, C., & Pearson, D. (2010). Assessing exhibits for learning in science centers: A practical tool. Visitor Studies, 13(1), 90–106.
In informal learning environments such as museums and science centers, researchers sometimes assess the effect of learners’ experiences by looking at their engagement. In this paper, researchers Barriault and Pearson describe a framework that identifies three different levels of visitor engagement with exhibits in a science center: initiation, transition, and breakthrough.
Sandoval, W. (2014). Conjecture mapping: An approach to systematic educational design research. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23, 18–36. doi:10.1080/10508406.2013.778204
Design-based research (DBR) is a method for testing educational theories while simultaneously studying the process of creating and refining educational interventions. In this article, Sandoval proposes “conjecture mapping” as a technique to guide DBR processes. Conjecture mapping responds to critiques that DBR lacks clear standards and methodological rigor.
Dancu, T., Gutwill, J. P., & Hido, N. (2011). Using iterative design and evaluation to develop playful learning experiences. Children, Youth and Environments, 21(2), 338–359.
Dancu, Gutwill, and Hido describe a process for designing science museum exhibits to create playful learning experiences. They outline five characteristics of play: It is structured by constraints, active without being stressful, focused on process not outcome, self-directed, and imaginative. For each characteristic, they offer an example of iterative design using formative evaluation.
Anderson, K. J. B. (2012). Science education and test-based accountability: Reviewing their relationship and exploring implications for future policy. Science Education, 96(1), 104–129. doi:10.1002/sce.20464
For almost two decades, strict accountability measures have been in place across the country. In this literature review, Anderson investigated the effect of accountability on K–12 science instruction. He found that curricula have narrowed, less time is being dedicated to science, teacher morale is lower, and expectations for some student groups have increased.
Van Schijndel, T. J. P., Franse, R. K., & Raijmakers, M. E. J. (2010). The Exploratory Behavior Scale: Assessing young visitors’ hands-on behavior in science museums. Science Education, 94, 794–809.
The authors of this paper were interested in knowing how parents can support exploratory behaviors of their preschool-aged children at museum exhibits. They developed a quantitative instrument based on psychological literature on exploration and play in order to describe and quantify young children's increasing levels of exploration of their environment. They then tested the measurement tool with parents and their preschool-aged children to investigate what types of adult coaching would achieve high-level exploratory behavior at various exhibits.
Palmer, K. L., Anderson, S. A., and Sabatelli, R. M. (2009). How is the afterschool field defining program quality? A review of effective program practices and definitions of program quality. Afterschool Matters, 9, 1–12.
This study is a summary of the review of the research literature of afterschool quality frameworks. It presents the debates on program effectiveness to help organizations, policymakers, funders, and evaluators make decisions about afterschool programming. This review is of help to ISE educators and program directors in understanding the current trends in outcomes-based programming, while grounding the conversation in the complexity and range of relevant developmental tasks.