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Title:Using a values-engaged educative evaluation approach to address issues of diversity and equity in a multi-site Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics program evaluation
Author(s):Tillman, Ayesha
Director of Research:Greene, Jennifer
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Greene, Jennifer
Doctoral Committee Member(s):DeStefano, Lizanne; Lawrenz, Frances; Schwandt, Thomas A.
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Abstract:As challenges mount in the areas of national defense, climate change, health, energy, economic growth, food safety and accessibility, and environmental protection, so does the demand for skilled scientists, engineers, and health professionals. For decades, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has spearheaded the federal government’s efforts to enhance the quality of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and to increase the diversity of STEM communities via a variety of Broadening Participation (BP) initiatives. There is a need for evaluations that better understand BP program characteristics and participant experiences that will lead to success for underrepresented minorities in these STEM programs. Empirical evidence is needed to support the claim that attention to diversity and equity will yield benefits for STEM and society, and provide exemplars of successful BP programs; examples of what such attention looks like in practice is largely absent. Such evaluations would be conducted with some predetermined criteria for judging program quality and with explicit valuing. Evaluators have been discussing values in evaluation for over 40 years (Campbell, 1982; Mabry; 2010; Scriven; 1980). From judging the value of a program based on set criteria, to developing an understanding of stakeholder values stances, explicitly or implicitly all evaluation work involves valuing (Shadish, Cook, & Leviton, 1991; House & Howe, 1999). However, there has yet to be consensus within the field on whose, and what criteria should be used to judge program worth. This dissertation is a case study that examined the potential of the Values-Engaged, Educative (VEE) evaluation approach (Greene, DeStefano, Burgon, & Hall, 2006) to engage the NSF BP agenda through the prescription of the values diversity and equity in a longitudinal multi-site STEM education program evaluation. The VEE evaluation approach seeks to educate stakeholders about their program and emphasizes the inclusion of the interests, concerns, perspectives, and values of those traditionally unheard or least well served in the evaluation context. With its foundation in STEM educational program evaluation, this approach defines quality at the intersection of the program’s scientific content, pedagogy, and equity. Several findings emerged. First, the VEE approach’s potential to engage with the NSF BP agenda is directly connected to stakeholders’ own values and commitments to BP. Second, the VEE approach impacted program design, especially in relation to participant selection and recruitment. Finally, engaging with stakeholder values, institutional culture, and being educative were aspects of the VEE approach responsible for evaluation success. Implications for the literature and future research endeavors are also discussed.
Issue Date:2015-01-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Ayesha Sherita Tillman
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-01-21
Date Deposited:2014-12

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