STEM Professional Development for Youth Workers: Results of a Triangulated Study
Keywords:professional development, STEM pedagogy, triangulated evaluation, youth worker skills
To increase the quality of informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities, many youth development professionals working in out-of-school time (OST) programs need professional development focused on facilitating these types of activities. Nebraska Extension developed an open-access repository of resources that support an ongoing, blended approach to STEM professional development for youth workers. The current study evaluated the impact on staff, programs, and youth achieved by implementing Click2Science resources in sites at a large youth serving organization. Data sources included site or program director/coordinator and frontline staff perceptions about their experiences during the professional development events, observations of staff facilitating STEM learning with youth, and youth interest in STEM. Findings demonstrated an increase in STEM program quality, as measured by the Dimensions of Success (DoS) Observational Tool (n.d.). Site or program director/coordinators and frontline staff found the professional development eye-opening and user friendly, and noted increased youth engagement following the intervention. Youth reported positive perceptions of STEM learning experiences. Triangulation of these three sources confirmed the promising utility and effectiveness of this professional development approach. Further research is needed to extend the preliminary findings and support the case for increased investment in STEM professional development for youth development professionals.
Afterschool Alliance. (2010). Issue Brief No. 44 Afterschool: Middle school and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), 1–7. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org
Afterschool Alliance (2014). America after 3PM: Afterschool programs in demand. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2014/AA3PM_National_Report.pdf.
Afterschool Alliance (2015). America after 3PM: Full STEM ahead. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/STEM.pdf.
Allen, P. J., Noam, G. G., Little, T. D., Fukuda, E., Gorrall, B. K., & Waggenspack, B. A. (2017). Afterschool & STEM system building evaluation 2016. Retrieved from https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/e45463_e14ee6fac98d405e950c66fe28de9bf8.pdf
Birman, B. F., Desimone, L., Porter, A. C., & Garet, M. S. (2000). Designing professional development that works. Educational Leadership, 57(8), 28-33.
Chun, K., & Harris, E. (2011). STEM out-of-school time programs for girls. Harvard Family Research Project Research Update, 5, 1-8. Retrieved from https://globalfrp.org/Archive
Common Instrument Suite (n.d.). Common Instrument Suite. Retrieved from https://www.thepearinstitute.org/common-instrument-suite
Davis, J., Lingo, L., & Woodruff, S. (2013). Strategies used to improve Florida’s 21st century community learning centers. In T. Peterson (Ed.), Expanding minds and opportunities: Leveraging the power of afterschool and summer learning for student success (pp. 67–73). Washington DC: Collaborative Communications.
Fayer, S., Lacey, A., & Watson, A. (2017). STEM occupations: Past, present, and future. Retrieved from U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics website: https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2017/science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-occupations-past-present-and-future/pdf/science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-occupations-past-present-and-future.pdf
Freeman, J., Dorph, R., & Chi, B. (2009). Strengthening after-school STEM staff development (pp. 1–34). Retrieved from Coalition for Science After School website: http://www.informalscience.org/sites/
Frerichs, S. W., Fenton, M. P., & Wingert, K. (2018). A model for out-of-school educator professional learning. Adult Learning, 29(3), 115-122. doi:10.1177/1045159518773908
Furtak, E. M., Seidel, T., Iverson, H., & Briggs, D. C. (2012). Experimental and quasi-experimental studies of inquiry-based science teaching: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 82(3), 300-329. doi:10.3102/0034654312457206
Garet, M. S., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L., Birman, B. F., & Yoon, K. S. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Education Research Journal, 38(4), 915-945. doi:10.3102/00028312038004915
Guskey, T. R., & Yoon, K. S. (2009). What works in professional development? Phi Delta Kappan, 90(7), 495-500.
Huang, D., & Cho, J. (2010). Using professional development to enhance staff retention. Afterschool Matters, 12, 9-16.
Jolly, E., Campbell, P., & Perlam, L. (2004) Engagement, capacity, continuity: A trilogy for student success. Retrieved from http://www.campbell-kibler.com/trilogy.pdf
Larson, R. W., Rickman, A. N., Gibbons, C. M., & Walker, K. C. (2009). Practitioner expertise: Creating quality within the daily tumble of events in youth settings. New Directions for Youth Development, 2009(121), 71-88. doi:10.1002/yd.297
Little, P. M. (2004). A recipe for quality out-of-school time programs. The Evaluation Exchange, 10(1), 18-19.
Krishnamurthi, A., & Bevan, B. (2017). From evidence to policy: The case for STEM in afterschool. Retrieved from STEM ready America website: http://stemreadyamerica.org/wp-content/
Krishnamurthi, A., & Sankar, R. (2012, July-August). STEM learning in afterschool: Ready to soar. Dimensions, 38-39. Retrieved from: http://www.astc.org/DimensionsPDFS/2012/JulAug.pdf
Mahoney, J. L., & Warner, G. (2014). Issue editors’ notes. New Directions for Youth Development, 2014(144), 1-10. doi:10.1002.yd.20108
Martinez, A., Linkow, T., Velez, M., & DeLisi, J. (2014). Evaluation study of Summer of Innovation stand-alone program model (FY 2013: Outcomes report). Retrieved from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/soi_stand-alone_program_model_fy2013_outcome_report.pdf
National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, D.C: The National Academies Press.
National Research Council. (2015). Identifying and supporting productive STEM programs in out-of-school settings. Washington DC: National Academies Press.
Nee, J., Howe, P., Schmidt, C., & Cole, P. (2006). Understanding the afterschool workforce: Opportunities and challenges for an emerging profession. Houston, TX: National Afterschool Association for Cornerstones for Kids.
PEAR Institute. (n.d.). DoS Observation Tool. Retrieved from https://www.thepearinstitute.org/dos-observation-tool
Shah, A. M., Wylie, C. E., Gitomer, D., & Noam, G. (2014). Development of the Dimensions of Success (DoS) observational tool for the out of school time STEM field: Refinement, field-testing and establishment of psychometric properties. Belmont, MA: Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency, Harvard University and McLean Hospital.
Shah, A. M., Wylie, C. E., Gitomer, D., & Noam, G. (2018). Improving STEM program quality in out-of-school-time: Tool development and validation. Science Education, 102(2), 238–259. doi:10.1002/sce.21327
Vandell, D. L., Simzar, R., O’Cadiz, P., & Hall, V. (2016). Findings from an afterschool STEM learning initiative: Links to professional development and quality STEM learning experiences. The Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities, 1(3), 7-26.
Walker, G., Wahl., E., & Rivas., L. M. (2005). NASA and afterschool programs: Connecting to the future. New York, NY: American Museum of Natural History.
Yohalem, N., & Pittman, K. (2006). Putting youth work on the map. Washington DC: Forum for Youth Investment.
Yohalem, N., Pittman, K., & Edwards, S. L. (2010). Strengthening the youth development/after-school workforce: Lessons learned and implications for funders. Washington DC: The Forum for Youth Investment. Retrieved from https://youtheconomicopportunities.org/sites/default/files/uploads
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.