Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    March 20, 2017 | 03:31 p.m.

    It seems like you are well on your way to achieving scale for the STEM Core Initiative! I’m wondering whether you’ve identified any other INCLUDES projects that could be an alliance partner in this effort? In terms of outcomes, I would also be curious to know how you’ve defined the comparison group for evaluating the math outcomes, which look very impressive indeed. Related to this would be the process you use for identifying and recruiting students into SCI? Since industry is key to this program, how will you identify and recruit new industry partners as you develop program sites in other parts of the country? Although the 4 pillars come as a package, do you have any data to support the effectiveness of each pillar individually or, relatedly, the importance of implementing SCI with fidelity in order to obtain the full effect?

  • Icon for: Jim Zoval

    Jim Zoval

    Presenter
    March 21, 2017 | 12:04 p.m.

    Hello Kevin,

    Thank you for your interest in the STEM Core Initiative (SCI). I have provided responses (under each or your questions) below:

    I’m wondering whether you’ve identified any other INCLUDES projects that could be an alliance partner in this effort?

    We have connected and began collaboration with some Colorado community colleges that we met at the NSF INCLUDES PI meeting through the University of Colorado Boulder team.

     

    In terms of outcomes, I would also be curious to know how you’ve defined the comparison group for evaluating the math outcomes, which look very impressive indeed.

    We will take a quasi-experimental design approach. By using propensity score matching, we will account for some of the bias inherent in the non-random assignment of students to treatment (STEM Core intervention) and control conditions (Guo & Fraser, 2010, Propensity score analysis: Statistical methods and applications. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Incorporated). This technique matches a treated (intervention participant) student to one or more individuals in the control group by relying on a rich set of covariates. These covariates will come from the administrative data elements (prior preparation, demographics) and baseline survey (motivation, STEM commitment, educational and career goals). The goal of the technique is to take a STEM Core participant and match him or her with his or her “academic twin” in the control group – someone who has similar or identical demographic characteristics, prior academic preparation, motivation, goals, and interests. Thus, this approach offers a method for accounting for the many differences that may be present between treated and untreated students.

    After matching “treated” and “controlled” students, we will test for differences in outcomes between the groups. These outcomes range from course grades, subsequent course enrollment, and persistence in a STEM-related program to measures of academic achievement, math self-confidence, and STEM commitment.

    Dr. Kevin Eagan, Managing Director at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, will lead the project research and evaluation component.

     

    Related to this would be the process you use for identifying and recruiting students into SCI?

    Each college partner employs a fulltime Student Support Specialist (SSS) who will implement the majority of the outreach and recruiting efforts. We have a training program for new SSS’s. Outreach and recruiting efforts include presentations at the colleges to math classes that would feed into the starting math levels for our program (intermediate algebra), collaborations with local high school counseling personnel and teachers, advertising at college events and on local television stations, outreach to local military bases, and outreach to local workforce investment boards.

    In addition, recognizing the underrepresentation of female students in STEM career pathways, Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s (LLNL) Cyberdefenders Program has committed to performing targeted outreach to female remedial community college students. Panels of LLNL female computer engineers will conduct organizational outreach sessions at partner community colleges.

     

    Since industry is key to this program, how will you identify and recruit new industry partners as you develop program sites in other parts of the country?

    We rely on our primary partner, growth sector to manage and secure the industrial relations. Nationally, SCI will build upon its established partnerships with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) and Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) to explore replication and scaling opportunities throughout the networks of NASA Centers and Federal Energy labs. LLNL and NASA JPL have each designated a permanent staff person to pursue this effort. NASA JPL, for example, has already indicated that they will reach out to their minority-serving college partners to expand the program.

    SCI will spotlight effective practices and identify best practices for how the nation’s community colleges can build strong and sustainable partnerships with business and industry that help students complete STEM pathways and succeed in STEM careers. SCI will also utilize relevant data regarding which outreach and engagement practices were the most effective and refine future iterations on that basis.

    I will ask my co-presenter, Caz Pereira (Co-director of Growth Sector), to elaborate on this question, please look for a reply from him later this week.

     

    Although the 4 pillars come as a package, do you have any data to support the effectiveness of each pillar individually or, relatedly, the importance of implementing SCI with fidelity in order to obtain the full effect?

    We have not yet conducted experiments in which the individual components/pillars have been studied for their effectiveness or an experiment in which any components/pillars have been omitted. This would be interesting research. It is definitely something we would consider in the next stage of SCI national implementation.

    Best wishes,

    Jim Zoval

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  • Icon for: Marc Levis-Fitzgerald

    Marc Levis-Fitzgerald

    Director center for educational assessment
    March 20, 2017 | 08:47 p.m.

    On our campus, we are very interested in building stronger partnerships with our local community colleges.  I found especially interesting you bring in several employer/industry partners.  Curious to know how you will assess these partnerships, in the short time and over time.

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  • Icon for: Jim Zoval

    Jim Zoval

    Presenter
    March 21, 2017 | 12:56 p.m.

    Hello Marc,

    Assessment of the partnerships will be done primarily by the Sr. personnel and PI at the lead institute (Saddleback College) and our primary partner (Growth Sector, workforce intermediary).  In the long term, this will involve considering the data provided by our project’s evaluation. This evaluation data includes quantitative data such as students’ academic success as defined by course grades, subsequent (college-level) course enrollment, associate’s degree completion, and/or transfer to another (2- or 4-year) institution, and also qualitative data from surveys such as participants’ academic engagement in their accelerated math and writing courses, their current commitment to STEM, self-efficacy in various abilities (post-testing items from the baseline survey to measure change), and their satisfaction with their experiences. For evaluation of partnerships, it will be important for grant management to look for “outlier events” for particular partners in the data, work with the partner to identify the source of the deviation from norm, and then implement interventions if needed.  In the short term, assessment of partnerships will depend on management’s direct contact with partners in order to confirm their practices and compliance with project tasks.

    For our industrial relationships (used for internships), we rely on our primary partner, Growth Sector to secure, manage, and evaluate the partnerships. Growth Sector will spotlight effective practices and identify best practices for how the nation’s community colleges can build strong and sustainable partnerships with business and industry that help students complete STEM pathways and succeed in STEM careers. SCI will also utilize relevant data regarding which outreach and engagement practices were the most effective and refine future iterations on that basis.

    I will ask my co-presenter, Caz Pereira (Co-director of Growth Sector), to elaborate on evaluation of industrial partnerships, please look for a reply from him later this week.

    If you have follow-up questions/comments on evaluation of partnerships, please do post them.

    Best wishes,

    Jim Zoval

    + Reply
  • Icon for: Ann Gates

    Ann Gates

    Professor and Chair
    March 21, 2017 | 05:43 p.m.

    Congratulations on your efforts.  Can you elaborate more on your contextualized and project-based curriculum?

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  • Icon for: Jim Zoval

    Jim Zoval

    Presenter
    March 23, 2017 | 04:46 p.m.

    Hello Ann,

    Thank you for your interest in our program.  For the most part, the daily classroom curriculum is close to that of a "regular" classroom.  However, the faculty make a special effort to connect what the students are learning to real-world problems/relevance.  Some of the real-world problems can be tied to the cohort students' regularly attended workshops, project competitions, and guest speaker events.  

    An example of project-based learning is a week-long guitar building workshop that we provide in the summer.  This project affords us the opportunity to teach machining, wood-working, electronics, chemistry, physics, and a bit of music in a single project.  Additionally, several of our students are actively involved in internships ranging all the way from local employers to JPL in Pasadena.  These types of events give our students a chance to apply what they've learned in the classroom to real world problems.

  • Icon for: Ann Gates

    Ann Gates

    Professor and Chair
    March 24, 2017 | 10:29 a.m.

    Great example. We are hoping to adopt these practices as well. Thank you for your efforts on this. It makes a difference. 

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  1. Jim Zoval
  2. Professor of Chemistry
  3. STEM Core Initiative
  4. Saddleback College
  1. Frank Gonzalez
  2. https://faculty.saddleback.edu/fgonzalez
  3. Professor of Mathematics
  4. STEM Core Initiative
  5. Saddleback College
  1. Caz Pereira
  2. director
  3. STEM Core Initiative
  4. Growth Sector

The STEM Core Initiative
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Saddleback’s STEM Core Initiative (SCI) has grown out of the DOL-funded Bridge2Engineering (B2E) grant which has received national attention. Our workforce intermediary partner, Growth Sector, brought the original B2E grant to us and helped the college implement the original B2E cohort model which included accelerated mathematics, work-based and contextualized learning, faculty mentoring, intensive student support, and summer internships at JPL and other engineering firms.

Saddleback’s B2E cohorts experienced a 20-30% increase in math course success rates, with 65% of students advancing to calculus-readiness in 2 semesters compared to only 4% of students in the comparison group.

This model has evolved into a national effort called a STEM Core Network. Originally led by Growth Sector, the National Laboratories (e.g. JPL and Lawrence Livermore), and Aspen Institute’s John Colburn, this network garnered national attention from national policy leaders such as Department of Education’s Mark Mitsui. Growth Sector has secured funding from Chase Bank Foundation, and possibly some other foundations, and is pursuing funding from the Helmsley Foundation, to execute the model on a national scale. Representatives from Saddleback College participated in a STEM Core convening in the Bay Area last year and Saddleback hosted a convening in 2015. San Jose Evergreen CCD is now leading a $15 million CPT grant in collaboration with Growth Sector to implement the STEM Core in numerous Bay Area community colleges.

Saddleback’s STEM Core Initiative (SCI) grant includes 13 CA Community Colleges, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), Growth Sector, and the Baltimore Community College District. Saddleback is eligible for a $12M Alliance grant to expand and replicate the model across the nation.