Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
Bethesda, Maryland, November 12, 2010 — An evaluation of the National Science Foundation's Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program, which supports graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to improve their research, communication, teaching and teamwork skills, has found that the program helps Fellows develop these important skills, while increasing access to current STEM resources for participating K-12 teachers and students. GK-12 Fellows work directly with K-12 teachers and their students in a variety of educational settings.
According to a study recently completed by Abt Associates, participating in the GK-12 program benefits the Fellows by strengthening competencies that are increasingly essential in professional settings. Additionally, most K-12 teachers involved in the GK-12 Program reported that it had positive effects by increasing their own STEM content knowledge, use of more effective pedagogical techniques, access to STEM resources, and their confidence and preparedness to teach. The teachers said the program also increased their students' STEM knowledge and skills.
"The GK-12 program is being implemented and experienced as intended,” said study director Beth Gamse. “Fellows reported that they engaged in multiple teaching activities with K-12 students, including presenting lessons or lectures, designing or modifying lessons or instructional modules, and leading small group activities.”
The study also compares current Fellows to comparable STEM graduate students from the same departments and institutions who had not received GK-12 Fellowships; it found that GK-12 Fellows are significantly more engaged in communication and teamwork — including presenting work at professional conferences and explaining STEM concepts to non-technical audiences — more often than similar comparison students.
From GK-12's inception in 1999 through 2008, it had already supported more than 7,400 Fellows, who worked with more than 9,000 K-12 teachers and potentially up to 600,000 K-12 students.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.