Home Contact Us Site Map/Search Links NCESSE
Journey through the Universe
Program Overview
The Learning Community Model
Program Overview
Professional Development
Classroom Visits
Family and Public Programs
Provided Resources
National Standards
The Organization
Program Delivery Teams
Milestones and Achievements
Learning Community Network
Build Your Program
Community Toolkit
Classroom Visit Assessment

Figure 1Fundamental objectives for the Classroom Visit presentation:

  • The Visiting Researcher must operate outside of ‘lecture mode’ and engage audiences through audience participation.
  • The Visiting Researcher must make science concepts, general content, and the process of science understandable by building bridges to the familiar (using vocabulary and experiences that are familiar to the students.)
  • The Visiting Researcher is to design presentations that relate to their research—their personal story—and that connect to the curriculum through relevant grade K-12 national science education standards.
  • The Visiting Researcher is to provide an understanding of their personal career path, and more generally, the subjects and disciplines of importance to students interested in a research career.
Assessment Protocol

Figure 2The Classroom Visit component of the Journey through the Universe program is currently assessed using a third-generation questionnaire. The questionnaire assesses the Classroom Visit presentation based on audience response, content, and presentation style. The questionnaire is filled out by hopefully all educators who were present during a Classroom Visit by a Visiting Researcher. The questionnaires are handed out to the educators in self-addressed, stamped envelopes. It is the responsibility of the participating school districts to ensure educators complete and submit their questionnaires to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.

Download Classroom Visit Questionnaire (PDF, 130 KB)

On receipt of the questionnaires, all quantitative data and all comments are entered into a database and a Classroom Visit assessment report is generated. Samples of the quantitative analysis portion of the report are provided in graphical format at the bottom of this page.

Quantitative Questions

The questionnaire asks the respondent to rank the efficacy of the presenter on a 1 to 5 scale for 11 quantitative questions (see below.) A ranking of 1 through 5 for each question is equivalent to the following assignments: 5-very good; 4-good; 3-fair; 2-poor; 1-very poor. There are also a significant number of comment fields on the questionnaire, including questions that only ask for comments.

  • (Q1) The Visiting Researcher’s Presentation involved audience participation.
  • (Q2) The Visiting Research used age-appropriate vocabulary during his/her presentation.
  • (Q3) The students responded positively to the Visiting Researcher’s presentation.
  • (Q4) The presentation was relevant to my curriculum.
  • (Q5) The Visiting Research told students about her/himself and the research she/he conducts.
  • (Q6) The Visiting Researcher’s personal story was interesting to the students.
  • (Q7) The Visiting Researcher is a gifted communicator. See Figure 1.Figure 3
  • (Q8) The Visiting Researcher stressed conceptual understanding. See Figure 2.
  • (Q9) The Visiting Researcher related the unfamiliar to the familiar using, for example, models.
  • (Q10) The Visiting Researcher made effective use of visuals and/or materials during the Presentation.
  • (Q11) The Visiting Researcher provided students with an awareness of the skills and qualifications required to pursue a career in the scientific fields.

Each of the 11 quantitative questions is associated with a graph that contains plots for all the presenters. See Figure 1 and Figure 2 as examples. For each presenter the graph includes the presenter's name, the number of responses received for that question, and an average grade on a 0 to 100 scale. The grades are assigned using the following table:



5 (very good)
4 (good)
3 (fair)
2 (poor)
1 (very poor)

Grade Assignment



This implies that if all the respondents assigned a 4 out of 5 to a presenter, corresponding to ‘good’, the presenter’s grade would only be a 75. The grading is harsh, but the expectations from the community and the program team are great. In general, we expect grades of 80 or better. Note that a grade is assigned only if 10 or more responses to the question were received. Also note that a Team Grade is provided, which is the average grade over the Team.

Each graph is a series of plots, one for each presenter. Each plot provides the percent of responses garnered by the presenter in each of the rankings. The shape of each presenter's plot is therefore a direct reflection of his/her average grade. The higher the grade the greater the profile is skewed to the right.

Journey Preparedness

As an overall gauge of the Visiting Researcher’s success, the respondent is asked if they would recommend the Visiting Researcher visit classrooms next year. Figure 3 provides a typical result, which speaks to the caliber of the researchers.

Overall Team Grade

Figure 4The assessment report includes a graph that provides the average grade across the Visiting Researcher Team for each quantitative question. This graph provides an overview of the Journey through the Universe Classroom Visit program component, and allows quick determination if the team made ‘the grade 80 or higher’ mark in all areas being assessed. Figure 4 provides a typical result.

Download Sample Classroom Visit Assessment Reports

Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, 2005 (PDF, 65 KB)
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, 2005
(PDF, 70 KB)
Moscow, Idaho, 2001
(PDF, 65 KB)

©2008, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education