Research and Evaluation
At Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Science and Math Education (CSME), faculty and staff engage in evaluation and research of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education reforms. Since 2008, full-time research faculty members at CSME have developed a team of professionals conducting a portfolio of work that includes external evaluations, internal evaluations, consulting and applied educational research. All CSME research and evaluation projects share common elements in their:
- Aim to generate knowledge that can be useful in making STEM education excellent and accessible to students who have traditionally been underserved in these fields
- Collaborative partnerships across universities, across Loyola departments, with school districts and with informal educational organizations
- Protection of human subjects and gathering of candid reflective feedback about the challenging work of improving educational practices
- Grounding in high quality social science research methods and American Evaluation Association (AEA) Guiding Principles for Evaluators.
Research and evaluation has been funded through support by the National Science Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust and other governmental and private organizations. The team has much experience working with administrators and teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. For example, team leaders Wenzel and Deiger have been studying CPS school reform since 1998 and 2003 respectively. Recent CSME evaluation and research projects can be categorized as focusing on the following topics:
- School- and district-level STEM education
- Professional development and graduate education for teachers
- Undergraduate STEM education
- Informal STEM education.
Team members have a depth of experience with various methodologies and tools. Studies typically rely on multiple modes of data collection, analysis and use of software packages, including:
- Individual interviews, focus groups
- Surveys with open-ended and closed- ended questions
- Document review
- Observations using naturalistic field notes or specific rubrics
- Case study descriptions and comparative analyses
- Secondary analysis of institutional records and student assessment data
- Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, including multi-level analysis
- Qualitative analyses.
The current full-time evaluation and research team includes three staff members who worked together on over 15 different projects during 2012-13.
- Stacy Wenzel, PhD, Associate Research Professor
- Megan Deiger, PhD, Assistant Research Professor
- Nayantara (Nayana) Abraham, MA, Research Coordinator
In addition, other CSME team members bring their expertise to specific evaluation and research projects.