Equity and Evaluation in Informal STEM Education
Informal STEM education institutions seek to engage broader cross sections of their communities to address inequities in STEM participation and remain relevant in a multicultural society. In this chapter, we advance the role that evaluation can play in helping the field adopt more inclusive practices and achieve greater equity than at present through evaluation that addresses sociopolitical contexts and reflects the perspectives and values of non-dominant communities. To do this for specific projects, we argue that evaluation should privilege the voices and lived experiences of non-dominant communities, engage communities in identifying desired outcomes, and ensure multicultural validity of instruments, measures, and inferences. At the field-wide level, we urge evaluators to examine conceptualizations of “broadening participation in STEM,” evaluate community-based partnerships, and address replication and scaling. Ultimately, these actions can lead to greater equity in evaluation and in informal STEM education.