Skip to main content

iStronG (Inclusive, Strong and Green): A student-centered systems thinking, place-based and technology driven curriculum


National Science Foundation

This project was intended to broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in STEM education. Researchers and curriculum developers refined systems thinking and place-based curriculum, which were used by federal Upward Bound programs. Four Upward Bound programs from different locations across the country participated in this project and implemented the curriculum and capstone projects. Researchers conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups with college access professional staff to address questions including the impact of the iStronG approach on students’ STEM interest, understanding of systems thinking, and awareness of STEM careers, as well as to assess the success of the professional development trainings. Comparisons were made between Upward Bound programs that administered the iStronG curriculum and those that did not.
The evaluation of the project was led by CESP. The primary goal of the evaluation was to monitor the implementation of all components of the project, assess the fidelity of the implementation protocols, and identify barriers and facilitators to implementation that could potentially cause differences in the outcomes observed at different sites, for different groups of students, and/or at different phases of the project. This information was crucial for informing the project leaders about aspects of the implementation that needed improvement, as well as for assessing the feasibility of standard application and scalability of the program. This project began in 2018 and ran through 2022.