A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

The Impact of Afterschool STEM: Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration

Year Published: 2016

Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration (FUSE) is a strategy to institutionalize engaging, inquiry-based, informal STEM education nationally. In this selection of evaluation data from the 2012-2013 school year, participants demonstrated gains along three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM.

Keywords: Multi-city Urban

Scope of the Evaluation: Multi-city

Program Type: Afterschool

Location: New York, NY; Providence, RI; Oakland, CA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and Palm Beach County, FL

Community Type: Urban

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics: Demographics vary based on the local community.

Program Website: http://www.expandedschools.org/tools/frontiers-urban-science-education-fuse-resource-guide#sthash.YfkXVk4T.dpbs

Evaluator: ExpandED Schools (Formerly TASC)

Evaluation Methods: Evaluators conduct interviews with stakeholders; collect surveys from staff, students and intermediaries’ partners; and observe science activities using the STEM Program Quality Assessment (PQA). Staff confidence is examined using the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI), and youth science attitudes with the Science Attitude Change Tool and Common Instrument.

Evaluation Type: Non-experimental

Below is a selection of evaluation data reported by the program around three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to productively engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM. These outcomes are an excerpt from a 2016 Afterschool Alliance paper, "The Impact of Afterschool STEM: Examples from the Field."

Interest: I like to do this
  • FUSE students participated in additional science related opportunities—43.6 percent played a math or science game at home; 42 percent participated in discussions about science topics with friends; 55 percent watched TV, movies or online videos related to science topics; and 30 percent read a book about a science topic.
  • Student attitudes toward science increased significantly in terms of agreement with the following statements: “I get excited to find out that I will be doing a science activity;” “Science is something I get excited about;” “I like to work on science activities;” “I like to participate in science projects;” and “I am curious to learn more about science, computers, or technology.”

Capacity: I can do this

  • Youth saw gains in science knowledge, motivation and confidence across all FUSE sites participating in the evaluation. At least 85 percent of youth reported that participating in their afterschool science program: “Improved my understanding of science;” “Helped me learn things that I need to answer science questions;” and “Gave me experience that will help me in the future with science projects and activities.”
  • FUSE received a top score (5/5) on an observation based evaluation for providing opportunities to practice group process skills, which includes actively listening, contributing ideas or actions to a group, doing a task with others, or taking responsibility for a part of a project.

Value: This is important to me

  • After participating in FUSE, student attitudes increased significantly in terms of agreement with the statement: “I pay attention when people talk about recycling to protect our environment.”
  • 79.5 percent of youth reported that participating in FUSE "made the idea of a job in science when I am older seem more possible;" 73 percent reported that it "made me more interested in a science job when I am older;" and 69 percent reported that it "made me feel more sure that I want a job in science when I am older.” 88.6 percent reported that participating in FUSE "made me more confident that I could do well in science classes in college."