5-Year Youth Programs Evaluation

Since 1999, Project Exploration’s youth programs have fostered long-term relationships with minority youth and girls in Chicago Public Schools. Our intensive science programs target students who may not be academically successful, but who are curious and open-minded.

Despite acknowledgement of an alarming shortfall of Americans qualified in science and technology—and dramatic under-representation of women and minorities in the science and technology workforce—little is known about the capacity for educational programming (either in or out of school) to impact a student’s choice of major in college. Furthermore, lack of longitudinal data for college enrollment in Chicago (i.e. school-based data that outlines who goes to college and majors in science) adds a significant hurdle to interpreting program impact.

Given this context, there are three remarkable findings from Project Exploration’s 2005 longitudinal Youth Programs Evaluation regarding students engaged in our science field programs:

  1. 96% of Project Exploration seniors have graduated high school;
  2. 61% enroll in a four-year college;
  3. 34% of all students and 43% of all females who graduate high school as Project Exploration field alumni are majoring in science.

The net impact of participating in a Project Exploration field experience is a dramatic increase in the likelihood that a given student will seek an undergraduate degree in science.

This Youth Programs Evaluation report, funded by the Grand Victoria Foundation, and Polk Bros. Foundation, offers concrete evidence for a science education youth development model that not only gets minority youth and girls interested in science, but also keeps them interested in science and along the way equips them with what they need to graduate high school, attend college, and consider science as a career option.

Download the Evaluation Report [PDF]

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