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Journey through the Universe
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Educator Workshop Assessment

Figure 1Fundamental objectives for the Educator Workshops:

  • Provide attendees an understanding of the entire Journey through the Universe program that has been customized for the community.  Specifically, provide an understanding of: the Learning Community Model and the program synergy realized through its implementation; the other Journey program elements to be delivered (e.g., Classroom Visits, Family and Public Programs); the program objectives; the schedule of activities throughout the academic year; and resources available on a continuous basis.
  • Mobilize the education community in support of the other Journey through the Universe program elements, and identify their roles in these programs. 
  • Provide a clear understanding of the chosen Education Module, including: the lesson structure; the storyline across the lessons, lesson objectives; and connections to national and local standards.
  • Provide training on the lessons and model best teaching practices for facilitation of inquiry-based exploration in the science classroom.
Assessment Protocol

Figure 2Assessment of a Journey through the Universe Educator Workshop is conducted using third generation pre- and post-workshop questionnaires.  The pre-workshop questionnaire is filled out by attendees on arrival and collected prior to the formal start of the workshop.  It assesses respondent background in science teaching and curriculum development, familiarity with Earth and space science content, familiarity with inquiry-based learning in the classroom, and their typical expectations for a professional development workshop.  The post-workshop questionnaire is filled out by attendees and collected at the end of the workshop.  It assesses the quality and effectiveness of the presenters and the workshop delivery; the quality of the educational materials; and the workshop logistical arrangements and comfort of the venue.  The questionnaires secure both quantitative data and commentary.

Download Educator Workshop Questionnaires

Pre-Assessment (PDF, 146 KB)
Post Assessment (PDF, 164 KB)

On receipt of the questionnaires, all quantitative data and all comments are entered into a database and an Educator Workshop assessment report is generated.   Samples of the quantitative analysis portion of the report, reflecting programming in seven communities, are provided in graphical format at the bottom of this page.   The sample reports reflect a diverse array of customized workshops, including: Master Teacher Workshops, workshops for grades K-12 teachers, workshops for a single grade level, workshops for just elementary school teachers, and a distance learning workshop.

Workshop Expectations
The pre-assessment questionnaire asks respondents to identify both positive and negative attributes associated with workshops they typically attend by checking off the appropriate attributes on a list.  The post-assessment questionnaire asks respondents to identify those attributes that apply to the workshop they just attended, using the same list.  By comparing the pre- and post-results a description emerges regarding the audience’s expectations for a workshop, and whether the Journey through the Universe workshop met or exceeded those expectations.  Figure 1 is a typical positive attributes graph.   Journey through the Universe workshops consistently far exceed audience expectations in all categories.
Quantitative Questions

Figure 3The questionnaire asks the respondent to rank the efficacy of the presenters and the quality of the educational materials, each in a number of categories, on a 1 to 4 scale. The questions are provided below.

Rate the efficacy of the presenter(s) to:

  • Present a science content overview that provided a conceptual foundation for the lessons.
  • Model best teaching practices.
  • Present material in an understandable and grade-appropriate manner.
  • Present information in a dynamic and entertaining way.
  • Facilitate inquiry-based exploration by the audience. See Figure 2.

Rate the overall quality of the educational materials for which you received training regarding:

  • Their completeness in terms of your ability to effectively teach these lessons in your classroom (completeness regarding, e.g., inclusion of objectives, connections to standards and benchmarks, content overviews, lesson prep, lesson plan, interdisciplinary connections, assessment rubrics, student worksheets).
  • The quality of their instructional design to facilitate effective and efficient management of the lessons in the classroom, including prep, warm-up, facilitation of activities, assessment of student performance, and extension activities.
  • Their relevance to your curriculum.
  • Their relevance to the state standards.
  • Their ability to facilitate and support inquiry-based exploration in the classroom. See Figure 3.

Respondents also rank workshop logistical arrangements and the comfort of the venue in a number of categories.
The ranking of 1 through 4 for each question can be equivalently viewed as having the following assignments:



4 (very effective)
3 (effective)
2 (somewhat effective)
1 (not effective)

Grade Assignment



This implies that if all the respondents assigned a 3 out of 4 to a question, corresponding to ‘effective’, the grade would only be a 66.6. The grading is harsh, but the expectations from the community and the program team are great. In general, we expect grades of 87.5 (a ranking of 3.5) or better.

Data obtained for each of the questions is associated with a graph. Figure 2 is a typical result for one of the questions regarding presenter efficacy. Figure 3 is a typical result for one of the questions addressing the quality of the educational materials.

Journey Preparedness

Figure 4At the end of a Journey workshop a salient benchmark question is whether the attendees feel prepared to implement the lessons in the classroom. Figure 4 provides a typical response on the 1 to 4 scale. We expect a grade of 80 or higher for this question.

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education will work with communities to augment this baseline assessment with tools and protocols that can: 1) determine if teachers are indeed implementing the lessons in the classroom, and; 2) determine whether students are learning. The latter can be determined through assessment protocols that interface with the assessment rubrics already embedded in each lesson.

Download Sample Educator Workshop Assessment Reports

Washington, DC, 2003
Grade 6 Educator Workshop (PDF, 50 KB)

Dickinson/Iron/Menominee, Michigan, 2003
Grade K-4 Educator Workshop (PDF, 50 KB)

Marquette, Michigan, 2004
Grade K-8 Educator Workshop (PDF, 50 KB)

Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, 2004 
Grade K-12 Educator Workshop (PDF, 50 KB)

Labette County, Kansas, 2005
Distance Learning Workshop for Master Teachers (PDF, 60 KB)

Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, 2005
Master Teacher Workshop (PDF, 140 KB)
Grade K-8 Educator Workshop (PDF, 140 KB)

Hilo, Hawai’i, 2006
Master Teacher Workshop (PDF, 60 KB)
Grade K-12 Educator Workshop (PDF, 60 KB)

©2008, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education