1999-2000

Project Directors: Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., Fern Marx, M.H.S.M., Jacqueline P. Fields, Ph.D.

This three-year evaluation project was designed to measure the outcome of SCOPE, an inquiry-based science enrichment program for upper-elementary and middle-school aged girls.

Sumru Erkut, Fern Marx, and Jacqueline Fields carried out a three-year process evaluation of this after-school science exploration project. SCOPE, an inquiry-based science enrichment program that meets once a week, served upper-elementary and middle school-aged girls in Worcester at Girls, Inc. The program was implemented as part of a collaboration between UMass Medical Center, The EcoTarium, and Girls, Inc., Worcester. The weekly afternoon meetings that took place during the school year were preceded by the week-long, full-day Summer Institute. The girls worked on a different science theme over the course of the school year that was introduced during the Summer Institute. The program constituted sustained intervention, in that the girls had to commit to a full year's participation in SCOPE and the program succeeded in retaining many girls for more than one year. The evaluators identified eight elements that accounted for the survival of SCOPE as a collaborative endeavor for more than five years.

  1. A collaboration among several institutions, among them science-based organizations and a respected, local organization that the community trusts for serving girls;
  2. A close working relationship among participating leaders of collaborating institutions;
  3. An identified group of girls;
  4. A place at which, from the perspective of parents, girls can safely meet;
  5. A trained staff to work with girls from upper elementary and middle school grades, from a variety of racial and ethnic, social class, and family backgrounds;
  6. Staff expertise in an inquiry-based approach to science education;
  7. An experiential curriculum that is flexible; and
  8. Funding, necessary for getting started, maintenance, and institutionalization of the program. 
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