SRI International Awarded National Science Foundation Contract to Study Afterschool Science Programs

Jan 21, 2010, 13:00 ET from SRI International

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development institute, today announced a $2.4 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a five-year research study focused on science in afterschool settings. Researchers will examine the types and quality of science offerings within afterschool programs and the factors that influence them.

The study will examine publicly funded elementary and middle school grantees of California's Afterschool Education and Safety (ASES) program. California's afterschool context is a rich environment for this study, since it offers diverse demographics, as well as strong and consistent funding. Proposition 49, approved by California voters in 2002, provides more than $500 million in funding each year for afterschool programming. California is also home to several pre-eminent institutions that support science education, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, and the University of California's Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley.

SRI's research study will explore the social networks connecting afterschool programs with each other and with outside institutions such as science museums and technical assistance providers.

"We will examine the network links between afterschool providers and science institutions to understand how the network structure influences students' exposure to high-quality science learning materials," said principal investigator Barbara Means, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International. "The larger goal of the study is to create new knowledge that helps afterschool and informal science stakeholders improve programs and broaden their impact."

SRI will work in collaboration with the California Afterschool Network, and independent consultants Jason Freeman, Joseph Ames, and Steve Fowler on this research. Inverness Research will provide independent evaluation of the project.

Findings from the study will be available to practitioners, intermediaries, policymakers, funders and others with an interest in improving the quality of informal science and afterschool learning.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF grant number DRL-0917536.

About SRI's Center for Technology in Learning

SRI's Center for Technology in Learning evaluates large-scale technology innovations, designs assessments that enhance teaching and learning, develops tools to help students master complex ideas, and offers strategic learning consulting services.

SRI has two additional education research centers. The Center for Education Policy conducts research and evaluations on the design, implementation and impact of educational programs, especially improvement efforts targeted at disadvantaged students. SRI's Center for Education and Human Services evaluates outcomes of policies and programs, from community services and school partnerships to statewide early childhood programs and federal special education and disability policies.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. SRI, which was founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute in 1946 and became independent in 1970, has been meeting the strategic needs of clients and partners for more than 60 years. Perhaps best known for its invention of the computer mouse and interactive computing, SRI has also been responsible for major advances in networking and communications, robotics, drug discovery and development, advanced materials, atmospheric research, education research, economic development, national security, and more. The nonprofit institute performs sponsored research and development for government agencies, businesses, and foundations. SRI also licenses its technologies, forms strategic alliances, and creates spin-off companies. In 2008, SRI's consolidated revenues, including its wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, Sarnoff Corporation, were approximately $490 million.

SOURCE SRI International