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Effective Evaluation of STEM Outreach

Lead Institution: National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement
Collaborating with:

Project Summary

Evaluation and impact are a key part of developing good practice, particularly around supporting HE engagement with schools and colleges and developing effective science communication and outreach. Effective evaluation allows outreach practitioners to explore the development of a project, the quality of its content, its delivery against aims and the impact on participants.

Through this project, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and Beacons for Public Engagement (a cohort of 23 HEIs) supported both the staff responsible for widening access and outreach around STEM-based subjects and STEM academics to: develop effective and appropriate methods of evaluating their work; improve practice and capture some of the key benefits and impacts of their work so that outreach expenditure can be targeted more effectively. By developing their understanding and skills in evaluation, practitioners would be able to improve the effectiveness of their projects, and demonstrate this to others.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the project was to:

Develop and deliver a range of training interventions and assoicated resources to support HE STEM practitioners to develop their evaluation work in particular, of STEM outreach activities.

To achieve this, the project:

1. Commissioned a survey of HE STEM practitioners on their current evaluation practice to better understand their needs and to inform the development of relevant evaluation training and resources

2. Designed and delivered Getting Started: A Beginner's Guide to Evaluation - A one day training course to support participants to develop their evaluation work

3. Designed and delivered an evaluation masterclass - Making use of your evaluation: Informing practice and evidencing impact - to support participants to make use of their evaluation

4. Designed and delivered a Training the Trainer session to support HE trainers to make use of the Getting Started: A Beginner's Guide to Evaluation resources back in their own institutions

5. Designed three Plug and Play sessions - One hour sessions to explore specific aspects of evaluation (Measuring Quality in Engagement; Logic Models & Theories of Change; Creative Ways to Evaluate) and that can be easily inserted into other training programmes

Staff involved