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


National Science Foundation

This project is intended to broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in STEM education. Researchers and curriculum developers will refine systems thinking and place-based curriculum, which will be used by federal Upward Bound programs. Four Upward Bound programs from different locations across the country will participate in this project and implement the curriculum and capstone projects. Researchers will conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups with college access professional staff to address questions including the impact of the iStronG approach upon 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 will be made between Upward Bound programs that are administering the iStronG curriculum and those that are not.

The evaluation of the project will be led by CESP. The primary goal of the evaluation is to monitor the implementation of all components of the project, assess fidelity of the implementation protocols, and identify barriers and facilitators to implementation that can 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 is crucial for informing the project leaders about aspects of the implementation that must be improved on as well as for assessing the feasibility of standard application and scalability of the program. This project began in 2018 and will run through 2021.