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About this Website

This is a searchable website of assessment tools for informal science learning. The goal is to provide practitioners, evaluators, researchers and policy makers with the information to choose appropriate tools for assessing program quality and outcomes for children and youth. Supported by the Noyce Foundation, PEAR (Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency) located at Mclean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, reviewed existing tools and published the findings in a report titled Toward a Systematic Evidence-Base for Science in Out-of-School Time: The Role of Assessment. This website is based on the findings of that report and will be continuously updated in collaboration with the Youth Development Researchers at 4-H.

The Role of Assessment in Informal and OST Science Programs

After-school programs are a superb tool for increasing child and youth literacy and engagement in science. Due to the steadily increasing numbers and importance of these programs a critical examination of the most efficacious and efficient means of assessment was needed, including whether these assessments should differ across programs, and how they relate to constructs of science learning and program quality. To address these fundamental questions, the Noyce Foundation, a leading strategic funder in the after-school science field, requisitioned a study to review and report on the current state and needs of the after-school science assessment world. This report approaches the assessment of after-school (and summer) science programs from a set of significant descriptive and interpretive perspectives.

Click here to read: Toward a Systematic Evidence-Base for Science in Out-of-School Time: The Role of Assessment Funded by The Noyce Foundation

More About PEAR (Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency)

PEAR is dedicated to making meaningful theoretical and practical contributions to youth development, school reform and prevention. Dr. Gil Noam founded the program in 1999 as a collaboration between Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a number of strong community partners. The program was established in response to the growing recognition that high-quality afterschool programs hold the promise of building resiliency and preventing high-risk behavior in youth. Dedicated to the "whole child–the whole day," PEAR continuously integrates research, theory, and practice for lasting connections between youth development, school reform and mental health.

More About the Noyce Foundation

The Noyce Foundation was created by the Noyce family in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Robert N. Noyce, inventor of the integrated circuit which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name. Because of Dr. Noyce's interest and background in science, the Foundation’s original purpose was to increase the numbers of students at every stage along the K-12 education pipeline who have the fundamental skills, knowledge, and interest to pursue further study leading to a career in science or technology. Most of the foundation's work, now including a major commitment to afterschool and out-of-school time science programs, is focused on improving mathematics and science experiences for students. In science, the Foundation’s goal is to significantly increase the number of students interested in pursuing science, engineering, and technology careers as well as to expand students' general knowledge of and engagement with science through out-of-school science programs.