The University of Nebraska Medical Center SEPA Award

  • External evaluation of Breaking Barriers Science Education Partnership Award project
  • Evaluation collected formative and summative evidence to help project staff members mold an effective program for the community
  • Funding source: National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources

BSCS was the external evaluator for the Breaking Barriers Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project. SEPA is a national program funded by the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health. The partnership was between the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen's Health Board (AATCHB), and the area tribal grades K–8 schools in Nebraska and South Dakota.

The evaluation was focused on collecting both formative and summative evidence that helps the Breaking Barriers staff members mold an effective program for the target community. Seven schools from Nebraska and South Dakota participated in the study. Evaluation tasks included an initial needs assessment of teachers and school administrators, evaluations of summer teacher workshops, and evaluations of student summer camps. Future evaluation activities will focus on obtaining summative information regarding the effectiveness of the project activities. A quasi-experimental design will be used to field-test a unique ethno-botony module that was developed by the project. The module focuses on the historical use of plants in Nebraska and South Dakota and integrates Native culture and custom in their use.

Evaluation questions for this project included the following:

  1. What are the specific needs of the student and teacher population?
  2. How effective are the summer teacher workshops in increasing teachers' content knowledge based on state standards?
  3. Do the summer teacher workshops positively impact teachers' science teaching self-efficacy?
  4. To what extent do student summer camps impact students' understanding of and interest in science and health careers?
  5. To what extent do student summer camps foster an interest in science in general?

Click here to learn more about the SEPA Project.