What problem does this study address?

This feasibility study brings further clarity to findings from the ATE Survey, and it identifies potential challenges and barriers to collecting and reporting unduplicated student counts. The study has three purposes:

  1. Produce a descriptive analysis of available data on the number of students served by ATE project activities and on student completion of ATE academic programs for a sample of nine projects.
  2. Document barriers to collecting and reporting this data, and describe challenges that would need to be overcome to report these and similar data program-wide.
  3. Provide information to the government in response to Public Law 115-402 (Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeship Act).

Why is this study important?

Working with participating ATE projects strengthens their data literacy and project capacity for data collection and provides EvaluATE with a more nuanced understanding of how projects collect and manage data on student counts, demographics, and program completion.

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

Findings from each of the questions investigated, along with details of the challenges faced throughout the feasibility study and resources required to expand to a full study, are included in a comprehensive report aimed at a non-technical audience not familiar with ATE or career and technical education.

The report contains recommendations for the NSF ATE program, ATE projects, and for EvaluATE and the ATE Survey.

How are the researchers conducting the study?

The study involves leveraging EvaluATE’s ATE Survey, information publicly available in the NSF awards database, and interviews with principal investigators.

These methods will provide data for answering the six main research questions:

  1. How many students participated in various ATE project activities in 2018 and 2019, as reported on the annual survey of ATE principal investigators?
  2. How many unique students participated in any ATE project activities in 2019, based on a sample of ATE projects?
  3. To what extent and how did the numbers of apprenticeships, internships, and other applied learning opportunities offered by employers in collaboration with ATE projects change across the lifetime of the ATE program?
  4. How many students who participated in ATE-funded academic programs completed their educational programs in 2018 and 2019, as reported on the annual survey of ATE principal investigators?
  5. How many students who began ATE-funded academic programs obtained a marketable credential (e.g., certificate, license, associate degree) from the program or another in a related field in 2019, based on a sample of ATE projects?
  6. If the ATE program wanted to report information on student participation and completion program-wide, what barriers would they need to consider or overcome?

Research Team

Robert Ruff

Western Michigan University- SAMPI

Cody Williams

Western Michigan University- SAMPI

Megan Zelinsky

Western Michigan University

Lyssa Wilson Becho

Western Michigan University

Study Findings

Findings from this study were published in an open-access report and a manuscript in the International Journal of STEM Education. 

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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.