Perspectives on the Community Science Workshops


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Community Science Workshops (CSW):
An Evaluation Portfolio

Welcome to the CSW Evaluation Portfolio

Welcome to Inverness Research's Community Science Workshops (CSW) Evaluation Portfolio. In this portfolio, we report on CSW—a project that grew from a single science teacher’s garage in 1991 to a national network of dozens of workshops in seven states by 2006.

Community Science Workshops are community-based non-profit programs that offer underserved youth living in low-income, high-minority neighborhoods a fun and safe way to explore their world through science. Community Science Workshops are what the name implies: they are workshops full of equipment and tools, located in mostly urban community spaces, where local youth can explore, investigate, and build—all with the support of caring, knowledgeable adults and in a culture of scientific inquiry and constructive social interaction.

As evaluators of these National Science Foundation-funded CSW initiatives for the past 12 years, we have gathered statistics on the scale, scope, and cost-efficiency of CSW services to youth. We observed youth at work in the shops—building bird houses, taking apart computers, repairing bikes, growing plants, and so on—and interviewed youth, their parents and teachers, CSW directors and community partners. We attended meetings of CSW directors and interviewed the national coordinators and principal investigators. In our research on dozens of science education initiatives throughout the country, we rarely encounter projects that have the combination of positive characteristics that the CSWs possess. Our findings suggest that CSW is a model for serving underserved youth that is both powerful and feasible, in that:

  • CSWs serve an important population in an important content area.
  • CSWs produce important benefits to youth.
  • The CSW model is replicable.
  • The CSW model is cost-efficient.

We present the major findings from our research and we provide our independent perspectives on CSW in the following four report modules:

Community Science Workshops: A Powerful and Feasible Model For Serving Underserved Youth. An Evaluation Brief
Primary Authors: Anita Smith and Laura Stokes | Click here to enter report

Community Science Workshops: Building a Bridge to Science for Urban Youth. A Descriptive Look at CSWs
Primary Author: Becky Carroll | Click here to enter report

What Do Community Science Workshops Do For Kids? The Benefits to Urban Youth
Primary Author: Dawn Huntwork | Click here to enter report

CSWs by the Numbers: A Statistical Portrait of Community Science Workshops
Primary Author: Judy Hirabayashi | Click here to enter report

It has been a privilege serving as formative and summative evaluators for CSW through the years, and we hope that these report modules will provide useful insight into their history, accomplishments, and future potential.

To continue reading the CSW Evaluation Portfolio, see the links in left column.


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