Examining Effects of a Multisite Youth Outreach Program: A Meta-analysis Approach
Keywords:STEM outreach, meta-analysis, multisite evaluation, heterogeneity, program effects
This paper presents the application of a meta-analysis approach to the evaluation of youth-learning data from the nationally distributed This is How We “Role” program. The application of meta-analysis for examining the impact of other multisite youth programs encountering similar data analysis challenges is discussed. At each This is How We “Role” program site, university partners collected data to examine youth-participant learning. Data analysis from these unique sites was challenging as the approach had to accommodate the innate heterogeneity across sites due to differences in implementation, sample size, and learning context. The meta-analysis method revealed details of the underlying variation between sites that could be masked by typical regression approaches, estimated overall program effects, examined subgroups and identified heterogeneity across project sites. The results showed the This is How We “Role” program generally increased learning at each site and as a whole, even though the program effects varied across sites. This example demonstrates the utility of using the meta-analysis approach to similar multi-site youth development programs.
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