What problem does this study address?

From historical data, we know that ATE projects spend an average of about 7% of their budgets on evaluation. But we don’t know how projects are leveraging their investment in evaluation.

Why is this study important?

While evaluation may serve many different purposes, project improvement is arguably the most important. Evaluations are supposed to help project staff identify shortcomings so they can be remedied and identify strengths so they can be maximized. Project leaders are also expected to share their lessons learned to advance understanding of STEM teaching and learning. Additionally, the National Science Foundation and other funders want grant seekers to provide evidence of the quality and effectiveness of past work. But little is actually known about the extent to which these or other uses of evaluation are taking place.

How will EvaluATE (or others) use the study findings?

EvaluATE will use the findings to develop practical resources to help ATE projects maximize the value and usefulness of their evaluations. Preliminary results have already been the focus of a workshop and webinar.

How are the researchers conducting the study?

The first step in this study was to leverage EvaluATE’s surveys of ATE principal investigators and evaluators to learn how their evaluations are being used. The researchers are also interviewing ATE principal investigators and evaluators for additional details. The study will culminate with case studies to provide an in-depth look at the ways in which evaluation is being used in the program. The cases studies will also shed light on factors that  facilitate and inhibit use of evaluation in the ATE context.

These methods will provide evidence for answering these three research questions:

  • How is evaluation being used in the ATE context?
  • What are the defining characteristics of or key principles specific to evaluation use in the ATE program?
  • How does evaluation influence ATE projects?

Research Team

Michael Harnar

Western Michigan University

Jonathon Bartik

Western Michigan University

Jeffrey Hillman

Western Michigan University

Zach Tilton

Western Michigan University

Study Findings

We’ll post study findings here when they’re available.

Associated Resources

You can learn more about this topic from the resources associated with our webinar on this research topic.

Nation Science Foundation Logo EvaluATE is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number 2332143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.