and technology agency in STEM education and then to articulate the unique contributions that NASA can and should make.


This report reviews NASA’s K-12 STEM education projects. It specifically focuses on the purposes identified by Congress in its mandate to the study committee. Furthermore, it provides guidance to NASA’s continued efforts to support K-12 STEM education. This chapter introduces the goals and scope of the study, and previous efforts to review NASA’s and all federal agencies’ K-12 STEM education projects.

Chapter 2 provides an overview of NASA’s K-12 STEM education program, a historical account of NASA’s involvement in this area, and a description of NASA’s K-12 framework for education projects within the headquarters Office of Education, the mission directorates, and the centers.

Chapter 3 illustrates the role of the federal government and federal agencies in K-12 STEM education. It specifically outlines the role of federal science agencies, and NASA in particular.

Chapter 4 evaluates the NASA portfolio in K-12 STEM education based on briefings from NASA staff, administrative documents, annual reports, recent external evaluations, and research in K-12 education regarding best practices in professional development, curriculum, instruction, and school reform. Particular attention was paid to program design and effectiveness in regard to the seven core Office of Education projects.

Chapter 5 critiques NASA’s previous project evaluations and provides a framework for guiding future project evaluations.

Chapter 6 presents conclusions and recommendations. Based on these conclusions and recommendations, the report specifically answers the four congressionally mandated questions described earlier in this chapter.

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