WMU News

NASA official comes to campus for evaluation project

Sept. 19, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Evaluation Center will play host to Malcolm Phelps, assistant director for programs in NASA's Education Division, during a Sept. 24 visit to discuss the center's evaluation of one of the space program's long-running education projects.

The meeting, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in B401 Ellsworth Hall, offers Phelps and others involved with the evaluation of NASA's Aerospace Education Services Program an opportunity to learn more the Evaluation Center's role in examining the program. Administered by Oklahoma State University, AESP assists and supports K-12 educators in updating science, mathematics, geography, and technology curricula and in utilizing new and evolving instructional technology and teaching strategies.

Student achievement, the evaluation approach, measures of effectiveness, and how the results of the evaluation project should be put to use are among the many items to be discussed when OSU administrators Steve Marks and Richard Adams join Phelps in his visit to the Evaluation Center. Officials at the Oklahoma State University Education and Research Foundation have managed and directed AESP for 27 of the last 32 years.

Last year, Oklahoma State hired WMU researchers to evaluate the AESP's goals, structure, and process over a three-year period.

"We are pleased to be a part of an expanding role of evaluation in NASA's educational programming," says Dr. Jerry Horn, director of the AESP evaluation project. "NASA has an impressive array of educational programs designed to educate the public, enhance professional development for formal and informal educators, and motivate children and youth to pursue studies and careers in aerospace-related fields. We hope this evaluation project will be just the first of a long period of involvement with this agency."

In addition to being a frontline leader in the evaluation of science and mathematics education, school personnel and educational reform, the Evaluation Center also has been involved with numerous other evaluation activities for clients such as the National Science Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

For more information about the Evaluation Center's work with AESP, contact Dr. Jerry Horn at (405) 707-7143 or <jhorneval@aol.com>.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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