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Committee for the Review and Evaluation of NASAâs Precollege Education Program Helen R. Quinn, Heidi A. Schweingruber, and Michael A. Feder, Editors Board on Science Education Center for Education Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS â500 Fifth Street, N.W. âWashington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Govern- ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer- ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropri- ate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. NNH05CC15C between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13:â 978-0-309-11551-3 International Standard Book Number-10:â 0-309-11551-5 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academies Press, 500Â Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202)Â 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2008). NASAâs Elementary and Secondary Education Program: Review and Critique. Committee for the Review and Evaluation of NASAâs Precollege Education Program, Helen R. Quinn, Heidi A. Schweingruber, and Michael A. Feder, Editors. Board on Science Education, Center for Education. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general wel- fare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Â Academy has a Â mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr.Â Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding e Â ngineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Insti- tute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr.Â Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sci- ences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr.Â RalphÂ J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE FOR THE REVIEW AND EVALUATION OF NASAâS PRECOLLEGE EDUCATION PROGRAM HELEN R. QUINN (Chair), Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University EDWARD F. CRAWLEY, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ERNEST R. HOUSE, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder HARRIETT G. JENKINS, Consultant, Bethesda, MD BRETT D. MOULDING, Utah Office of Education, Salt Lake City BRUCE PARTRIDGE, Department of Physics and Astronomy, HaverfordÂ College SENTA RAIZEN, WestEd, Arlington, VA PHILIP J. SAKIMOTO, Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame ELIZABETH K. STAGE, Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley JAMES S. TREFIL, Department of Physics and Astronomy, George Mason University CAROL H. WEISS, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University HEIDI A. SCHWEINGRUBER, Study Director and Acting Board Director MICHAEL A. FEDER, Program Officer C. JEAN MOON, Director, Board on Science Education (until October 2007) PATRICIA SANTOS, Senior Program Assistant
BOARD ON SCIENCE EDUCATION CARL E. WEIMAN (Chair), Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder PHILIP BELL, Cognitive Studies in Education, University of Washington, Seattle WILLIAM BONVILLIAN, Washington, DC, Office, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN BRANSFORD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington, Seattle ADAM GAMORAN, Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison JANET HUSTLER, Partnership for Student Success in Science (PS3), c/o Synopsys, Inc., Mountain View, CA FRANK KEIL, Morse College, Yale University BRETT D. MOUDLING, Utah Office of Education, Salt Lake City CARLO PARRAVANO, Merck Institute for Science Education, Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, New Jersey HELEN R. QUINN, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University SUSAN R. SINGER, Department of Biology, Carleton College JAMES P. SPILLANE, Department of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University WILLIAM B. WOOD, Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder C. JEAN MOON, Director (until October 2007) HEIDI A. SCHWEINGRUBER, Acting Director, Senior Program Officer ANDREW W. SHOUSE, Senior Program Officer MICHAEL A. FEDER, Program Officer PATRICIA SANTOS, Senior Program Assistant VICTORIA N. WARD, Senior Program Assistant vi
Foreword T he role of federal agencies in education is a critical one, but one deserving of a greater knowledge base to define and strengthen that role. This National Research Council report on the National Aero- nautics and Space Administration (NASA) precollege education program that was overseen by the Board on Science Education (BOSE) makes a solid contribution to increasing this knowledge base. Public outreach and science education have been important components of the mission of NASA since the Space Act created NASA in 1958. The timing of the Space Act was clearly not an historical accident. It came in response to a successful launch of the Soviet Unionâs Sputnik satellite in October 1957. The worldâs first artificial satellite was about the size of a basket- ball, weighted only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch reflected major new political, military, technological, and scientific developments and brought attention and anxiety to U.S. readiness to matchâand overtakeâthe Soviet Unionâs accomplishments. Today, more than 50 years later, the United States is again attentive and anxious about the nationâs readiness, particularly in technology and science. This review of NASAâs K-12 education program comes at a time when the state of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educa- tion in the United States is also a focus of concerns. Those concerns range from a waning of interest among youth in STEM careers, to the quality of teacher preparation programs to ready future teachers to engage students in the ideas and practices of science and mathematics, to the growing gap between how science is practiced and how students experience the ideas of vii
viii FOREWORD science inside and outside of the classroom. Outside of formal schooling, there is also concern about public understanding and interest in science. Today, the state of science knowledge in our society cannot rest with only K-12 schools. More realistically, it has to be a central societal concern to allâfrom governmental institutions to state agencies to corporations and businesses to individual citizens. Much of everyday experience is shaped by or is a by-product of the enterprise of science, engineering, mathematics, and technologies. Peopleâs health, the health of the worldâs oceans and air, and the remarkable infrastructure of communications technologies are but a small percentage of everyoneâs everyday encounter with the productive and powerful engine of science. Our ability to maintain this progression of invention, knowledge c Â reation, and innovation depends upon a similar ability to interest, moti- vate, and educate the next generation of individuals who will successfully contribute to all facets of our countryâs STEM enterprise. A federal agency like NASA has a unique and important role to play in motivating and inspiring students to consider STEM careers, and citizens to become more knowledgeable participants in the scientific arena. In a September 1962 address at Rice University, President John ÂKennedy spoke of the challenges to a society that he called on to undertake a great challenge: putting a man on the moon within a decade. He said We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to Âaccept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. These remain inspiring wordsâwords worth remembering as we con- template the current and future state of STEM education in this country. BOSE is pleased to have overseen this study. Our mission is to be responsive to Congress when they request studies, but also to be responsive to the citizens of this country and their need for objective and evidence- based findings about all aspects of science education. We anticipate this report will be of genuine assistance to Congress, to NASA, and to the many other federal agencies with a commitment to STEM education. Carl E. Wieman, Chair C. Jean Moon, Director Board on Science Education
Acknowledgments T he committee and staff thank the many individuals and organiza- tions without whom this study could not have been completed. We also recognize and honor the memory of William Bryant Williams, project manager for the Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) who presented to the committee during its deliberations. Bill was a dedicated educator with a long career in teaching and administration who made many contributions to NASA education during his tenure with the agency. First, we acknowledge the support of NASA staff in the Office of Edu- cation who provided detailed information about NASAâs activities in K-12 education. They made themselves readily available to National Research Council (NRC) staff and the committee. They were quick to respond to requests for information, contacted other NASA staff to help field requests, and were persistent in obtaining the information requested by the commit- tee. Malcom Phelps, associate director and Shelley Canright, acting director of elementary and secondary education were especially helpful. Individually and collectively, members of the committee benefited from discussions and presentations by those who participated in our three fact- finding meetings. NASA staff from the headquarters Office of Education, and staff and researchers associated with centers and individual projects were invaluable in providing information about the Elementary and Sec- ondary Program and its constituent projects. We are grateful to each of the presenters: Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator for education; Shelley Canright, acting director of elementary and secondary education; Malcom Phelps, associate director; Bernice Alston, deputy assistant administrator; ix
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS James Manning, head of the office of public outreach, Space Telescope Science Institute; Isabel Hawkins, senior fellow and director of the Space Sciences Laboratory, Center for Science Education, University of Cali- fornia, Berkeley; Robert Gabrys, chief education officer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Edna DeVore, director of education and public out- reach, SETI Institute; William Bryant Williams, project manager for AESP; Edward Pritchard, project manager for Education Flight Projects (EFP); Cynthia McArthur, project manager for flight projects; Dovie Lacy, project manager for Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA); Robert Starr, project manager, Digital Learning Network (DLN); Robert LaSalvia, project manager, NASA Explorer Schools (NES). The committee also benefitted from presentations by experts knowl- edgeable about the agency, or those who had served as outside evaluators for NASAâs education programs. Thanks to: Joy Frechtling, vice president, Westat; Theresa Schwerin, associate director for education, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies; Susan Cohen, director, Program Evalu- ation and Research Group, Lesley University; Hilarie Davis, evaluator, Technology for Learning Consortium, Inc.; Jeffrey Rosendhal, consultant; Kevin McKinley, independent evaluator. A panel of representatives from other federal science agencies engaged in K-12 education activities provided valuable insight into the federal con- text for NASAâs programs: Marlene Kaplan, deputy director of education, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Bruce Fuchs, office of science education, National Institutes of Health (NIH); William Valdez, acting director of the office of workforce development and director of planning and analysis, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); Jill Karsten, program director for diversity and education, directorate for geosciences, National Science Foundation (NSF). Finally, the committee benefitted from the contributions of three authors of commissioned papers whose work informed this report. ÂFrances ÂLawrenz, associate vice president for research at the University of ÂMinnesota, reviewed several external evaluations of K-12 education projects in NASA and wrote a summary and critique. Susan Mundry, associate director at WestEd, provided a detailed discussion of the NASA Explorer Schools model in comparison with frameworks drawn from the literature on comprehensive school reform. Georgia Hall, on behalf of Wellesley College, and senior research scientist of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, used a review of the literature on supporting underrepresented minority students in the sciences to develop criteria with which to critique the proposed model for the Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience (INSPIRE). Several individuals at the NRC assisted the committee. Jean Moon and Patricia Morison offered valuable suggestions at each committee meeting,
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi as well as providing helpful comments on drafts of the report. The Space Studies Board and its director, Marcia Smith, provided insightful guid- ance during the committee selection and fact-finding stages of the study. Matt Von Hendy provided invaluable help with library research. We thank Kirsten Sampson Snyder, who shepherded the report through the NRC review process, Eugenia Grohman, who edited the draft report, and Yvonne Wise for processing the report through final production. We are grateful to Kemi Yai, who arranged logistics for the first and second committee meet- ings. Finally, we thank Patricia Santos for her able assistance in supporting the committee at every stage in its deliberations and in preparing numerous drafts and revisions of the report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with pro- cedures approved by the NRCâs Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Alice M. Agogino, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Uni- versity of California, Berkeley; Katy Garmany, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ; Joan Herman, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing, University of California, Los Angeles; Shelley A. Lee, Science Education, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison, WI; Richard A. McCray, Department of Astrophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder; George D. Nelson, Depart- ment of Physics and Astronomy, Western Washington University; Barbara Olds, Liberal Arts and International Studies and McBride Honors Program, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO; Janet Powell, Executive Directorâs Office, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Colorado Springs, CO; and Robert Semper, Center for Learning and Teaching, The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. Michael E. Martinez, Department of Education, University of Â California, Irvine, and W. Carl Lineberger, Department of Chemistry, University of ÂColorado, Boulder, oversaw the review of this report. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors and the institution.
Contents Executive Summary 1 1 Introduction 11 2 NASAâs Education Programs 21 3 The Federal Context for Education 44 4 Analysis of NASAâs K-12 Education Portfolio 57 5 Program Evaluation 90 6 Conclusions and Recommendations 112 References 132 Appendixes A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 139 B Acronyms 145 xiii
List of Tables, Figures, and Boxes TABLES 2-1 NASA Education Portfolio Activity Categories, 36 2-2 Office of Education Funding by Program and Project for Fiscal 2003â2008, 38 3-1 Kâ12 STEM Education Program Funding by Agency, 47 4-1 Objectives for Seven Core Education Programs, 82 5-1 Descriptions of Reports from External Evaluations of the Core P Â rojects, 92 5-2 Objectives, Outputs, and Outcomes for the Elementary and S Â econdary Program, 100 FIGURES 2-1 NASA organizational chart, 30 2-2 NASA education strategic coordination framework pyramid Âshowing outcomes mapped to the education strategic framework, 32 2-3 NASA education strategic coordination framework, 33 xv
xvi TABLES, FIGURES, AND BOXES BOXES 1-1 Programs and Projects: Definitions, 14 2-1 NASA Education Program: History of Key Changes, 23 4-1 Goals and Intended Outcomes: NASA Core K-12 Education P Â rojects,Â 64 4-2 Examples of High-Quality NASA Partnership Projects in Education,Â 85