Gauging informal stem youth program impact: A conceptual framework and a measurement instrument

Robert H. Tai, Ji Hoon Ryoo, Claire E. Mitchell, Xiaoqing Kong, Angela Skeeles-Worley, John T. Almarode, Adam V. Maltese, Katherine P. Dabney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STEM education programs are often formulated with a "hands-on activities" focus across a wide array of topics from robotics to rockets to ecology. Traditionally, the impact of these programs is based on surveys of youth on program-specific experiences or the youths' interest and impressions of science in general. In this manuscript, we offer a new approach to analyzing science programming design and youth participant impact. The conceptual framework discussed here concentrates on the organization and analysis of common learning activities and instructional strategies. We establish instrument validity and reliability through an analysis of validity threats and pilot study results. We conclude by using this instrument in an example analysis of a STEM education program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-133
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Youth Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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