Evaluation for all: Findings and lessons in evaluating postsecondary STEM programs for students with disabilities

Session Number: 1463
Track: Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations
Session Type: Poster
Tags: Assets Mapping, Capacity Building Evaluation
Session Chair: Linda P Thurston [retired - Professor and Associate Dean - emeritus - Kansas State University]
Presenter 1: Brittany McCullough [Program Analyst - Auburn University]
Presenter 2: David M Shannon [College professor]
Presenter 3: Linda P Thurston [retired - Professor and Associate Dean - emeritus - Kansas State University]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: David M Shannon [College professor]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Brittany McCullough [Program Analyst - Auburn University]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Eric Lawrence [Graduate Research Assistant - Kansas State University]
Time: Nov 13, 2019 (06:30 PM - 08:30 PM)
Room: Poster 35

Abstract 1 Title: Evaluating success for students with disabilities in post-secondary STEM programs
Presentation Abstract 1:

Several programs funded in Alabama focused of developing and replicating programs to recruit and support students with disabilities in post-secondary STEM programs of study.  Funded by the NSF, programs utilized a consistent series of measures to assess student impacts. Since 2009, Auburn University has led Bridge Model scholarship and retention programs for students with disabilities in STEM. The model involves participation in interventions such as peer and faculty mentoring, summer research internships, monthly group meetings, academic workshops, and professional development seminars. Evaluation included various measures of student success, including persistence program completion. Findings included increased self-efficacy and intention to persist in STEM, higher levels of interest and confidence in conducting research, and more frequent engagement in self­-advocacy behaviors. Participants have included students from community colleges, HBCUs, and majority institutions and have represented many different classifications of disabilities.


Abstract 2 Title: Impacts of peer mentoring on students with disabilities in higher education STEM programs at multiple institutions.
Presentation Abstract 2:

This research is focused on differences and similarities of underrepresented minority students with and without disabilities on reliable measures of student quality and persistence as they engage in a Bridge Model and peer mentoring at participating post-secondary STEM programs. Comparisons were made within multiple institutions among students from three NSF-funded projects, to include students with disabilities (SWD) in an NSF INCLUDES project, underrepresented minority students in an NSF LSAMP project, and low-income students in an NSF S-STEM. Compared to the other students, SWD demonstrated greater gains in student persistence over the academic year, with greatest gains related to academic and social integration, motivation to learn and time management.  SWD also reported increased use of effective self-advocacy behaviors and demonstrated self-advocacy knowledge.


Abstract 3 Title: Using asset mapping to identify institutional capacity to serve students with disabilities
Presentation Abstract 3:

In a multi-institutional INCLUDES alliance funded by the NSF, asset mapping was used to collect collected baseline variables related to institutional capacity. Alliance partners included 21 2-year, 4-year, and graduate institutions in the southeastern region of the US. Institutional assets were defined in 17 categories; data were collected from websites, interviews and surveys. Institutional assets related to students with disabilities in STEM increased across the alliance from 541 to 751 over the first 18 months of the project and demonstrated increased confidence, knowledge, and services to students with disabilities in STEM overall for project institutional partners. Challenges, next-times, and lessons learned will be discussed.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Post-secondary programs especially designed to improve these odds for students with disabilities (SWD) have been implemented a team in Alabama. Evaluating the success of these programs is an important step in broadening the reach of good programs, reducing the stereotype of disabilities in post-secondary institutions, and increasing the capacity of institutions to promote success for all students.  The three papers in this session describe methodology and findings from evaluations of several projects for SWD in STEM education. Comparing student impact for students with disabilities, students from racial groups underrepresented in STEM, and students from low-income backgrounds represents a unique way to examine these specialized programs. The use of asset maps to look at institutional capacity provides insight for both evaluators and for institutional personnel.