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Volume 5, January 2011
Research Update 5: STEM Out-of-School Time Programs for Girls
Katie Chun, Erin Harris
Inside this Research Update: The features and benefits of STEM out-of-school time programs for girls.
Increasing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has become part of education reform efforts in recent years in order to prepare students for the challenges of the twenty-first century global economy. Out-of-school time (OST) programs that focus on girls’ involvement in STEM can play an essential role in improving female representation in these traditionally male-dominated fields. OST programs offer girls a non-threatening and non-academic environment for hands-on learning that is collaborative, informal, and personal. However, barriers to quality implementation and outcome-based evaluation present challenges for STEM programs serving girls. This Research Update highlights findings from the evaluations and research studies in the OST Database that focus on STEM programs for girls.
The six STEM programs covered in this Research Update reflect the diversity of approaches to STEM education, including structured afterschool modules, recreational activities, intensive summer trips, and mentoring. These programs mainly serve youth in middle school and high school, with some targeting girls only, and others available to both boys and girls but with a particular focus on girls.
About this Series
The Research Update series provides insight from the evaluations and profiles covered in Harvard Family Research Project’s Out-of-School Time (OST) Program Research and Evaluation Database and Bibliography. Research Updates highlight new and innovative topics, methods, and findings in the increasingly sophisticated, growing field of OST research and evaluation.
Free. Available online only.