Big Back Yard Park Crew Summative Evaluation
During the summer of 2007, the Science Museum of Minnesota carried out a summative evaluation of the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center's Park Crew program. The purpose of the evaluation was to understand how the youth staff implemented activities in the museum's Big Back Yard and what they learned about earth-surface processes, teaching others, and STEM careers. A mixed-methods design was used to gather evaluative data. Data collection methods included observations of youth presenting activities to visitors and pre- and post-interviews with the youth. A total of 11 youth (sophomore through seniors) were in the Park Crew in 2007 and participated in the evaluation. The summative data was used in a formative manner to help improve future Park Crew activities in the Big Back Yard. To generate recommendations for improvement, the evaluator and Youth Program Manager co-facilitated a series of evaluation workshops where youth learned about evaluation, reflected on their activities' learning objectives, interpreted the summative evaluation data and created recommendations for the upcoming summer. Included in this report are the youths’ reflections of the four activities, their interpretations of some of the evaluation data, and their recommendations to improve their work in the BBY. For a detailed description of the participatory evaluation workshops and benefits to the individuals involved see: Grack Nelson, A. & Callahan Schreiber, R. (2009). Participatory evaluation: A case study of involving stakeholders in the evaluation process. Visitor Studies, 12(2), 199 – 213.