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NOAA’s Education Program: Review and Critique
The need for an approach to the education portfolio that emphasizes continual improvement and supports rigorous evaluation of NOAA education programs.
These considerations are discussed across Chapters 2 to 5, and they influenced the conclusions and recommendations presented in Chapter 6.
Following this introduction, Chapter 2 provides an overview of the national education landscape in which NOAA programs operate and outlines how NOAA can define its role in this context. Brief descriptions of the education efforts by other agencies are provided, and the assets and limitation that define NOAA’s role in education are described. The need for coordination and collaboration across federal and state agencies, institutes of higher education, K-12 education communities, and private-sector and nonprofit organizations is stressed.
Chapter 3 presents the NOAA education portfolio, critiques the education strategic plan, and outlines effective education practices for professional development for teachers, curriculum, instruction, informal education environments, promoting diversity, and addressing workforce needs. The strengths and weaknesses of the strategic education plan and effective education practices to support the agency’s education plan are described.
Chapter 4 evaluates the major NOAA education projects based on briefings from NOAA staff, administrative documents, annual reports, recent external evaluations, and research in education regarding effective practices. Each of the major education programs is described, and the evidence of their impact is highlighted. Cross-cutting issues, including portfolio balance, are discussed at the end of the chapter.
Chapter 5 critiques the framework NOAA has selected to guide future project evaluations and the previous project evaluations. The chapter provides guidance on implementing the education evaluation framework that NOAA has selected.
Chapter 6 presents the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, which specifically address the appropriate role of NOAA in education, the appropriate goals and outcomes of its education activities, effective and scalable evaluation strategies to assess the impact of education projects and the education portfolio, the appropriate balance of its education portfolio, and the impact of existing education activities.