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Developing YOUth! Project

Measuring the long-term impact of a STEM-based out-of-school time program

July 12, 2019

Updates at the End of Year Four

Posted by Aaron Price on July 12, 2019

We are near the end of the fourth year of this study. It began in October 2015 with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to follow three cohorts of graduates from MSI’s Science Minors and Achievers teen program through their post-high school careers (whether that involves college or not). 

We recruited participants from the program’s 2016, 2017 and 2018 graduating class, along with control groups each year. This summer the first cohort will be receiving their fourth annual survey from us. And either this summer or this winter, the 10 ethnographic participants will undergo their fifth round of interviews!

All that data is sitting on secured hard drives and behind locked filing cabinets. Some of it is being actively analyzed as I write this. But most are archived, waiting for a pair of eyes to give it some attention. 

At the end of the study, almost all of the survey data (and maybe some of the interview data) will be released into the public domain via the Open Science Repository. We hope it becomes useful to the greater scientific field (and to anyone interested!).

In some ways, we are on pins and needles at this stage. Early looks at the data are tantalizing. In particular, we see interesting differences between the control and treatment groups in both their drop-out rate from STEM majors (those who transfer from a STEM major to a non-STEM major) and also in their greater college drop-out rate (those who leave college altogether). But the data is still going to come in for years. 

We won’t know the final results for a while and cannot say for sure whether these early results will hold up. Hence the pins and needles. In the meantime, we do have some research papers in preparation looking at short-term results and look forward to posting them upon publication. Stay tuned for updates on those this Fall.