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Iowa STEM Education Evaluation (I-SEE)

The purpose of the I-SEE project is to build a coordinated statewide evaluation system that comprehensively assesses the educational and economic changes that occur throughout long-term statewide STEM initiatives. The long-term goal of the project is to inform other states on model STEM evaluation. The I-SEE project is a collaboration with the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa and the Center for Evaluation and Assessment at the University of Iowa.

RISE is tasked with completion of the process evaluation component of the I-SEE. The evaluation is supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. 1238211. Process evaluation is used to monitor and document program implementation and can aid in understanding the relationship between specific program activities and program outcomes. The purpose of the process evaluation is two-fold:

-to describe the Iowa STEM initiative in sufficient depth as well as changes in focus and activities over time
-to document the quality and value (worth) of specific activities that are key in the growth of the Iowa STEM Initiative.

The single case study with multiple units of analysis was chosen as the research strategy to conduct the process evaluation. The methods of data collection consist of four different strategies: (1) document analysis, (2) in-depth interviews, (3) social network analysis and geographic information system analysis, and (4) online survey.
Utilizing grounded theory techniques, each method builds off each other, offering a robust and triangulated analysis. The process evaluation will create a dynamic logic model of the Iowa STEM Initiative that maps the inputs/resources, outputs, activities, and outcomes. This ‘living’ logic model will provide an understanding of how the Iowa STEM Initiative changes over time. The model will be viewed as successful if it is comprehensive and results in useful and sustainable recommendations for Iowa and other statewide STEM initiatives.

Associated Publications

Iowa STEM Initiative: Geographic Visualization of Key Decision Makers 2011-12 through 2014-15