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Evaluation of the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has contracted with WhitworthKee Consulting, LLC (WKC) to conduct an evaluation of its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (“the Program”). WKC is conducting this evaluation in collaboration with RTI International (the “WKC Team”). The purpose of this evaluation is to: (a) understand overall perceptions of the Program; and (b) identify what is working well and opportunities for growth. This information will help support the overall goal of increasing diversity within the STEM teacher education field.

The WKC Team is committed to integrating principles of cultural responsiveness and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout the evaluation process, including understanding the diverse perspectives and experiences of those individuals who directly or indirectly interact with the Program. The evaluation is essential to provide NSF with information that supports its goal of increasing diversity of the STEM teacher education field, as well as meeting the field’s needs and expectations.

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About the Evaluation

The WKC Evaluation Team’s evaluation of the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program will explore perceptions of the Program among the community and its stakeholders. Please note that there is another evaluation being conducted simultaneously by SRI ; however, the focus of SRI’s evaluation is on outcomes of the Program.

The WKC Evaluation Team’s evaluation supports NSF’s mission to create a highly qualified and diverse K-12 STEM teacher workforce by particularly focusing on the current context of the field and the Program, potential barriers, and facilitators to applying for Noyce awards, as well as other areas that may influence progress.

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Purpose and Objectives

The primary purpose of this evaluation is to understand the perceptions of the Noyce award and its recipients within the community as well as understand the context, barriers, and facilitators of applying and receiving Noyce awards. We will explore:

  • The STEM education field’s perceptions about what should be funded by Noyce and the Program award itself;
  • Barriers and facilitators to applying for Program funding; and,
  • Potential impacts of the changes to the application and review process on the perception of the program.

Importance of the Evaluation for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

This evaluation is crucial in offering insights into the Program to engage in continuous program improvement. By hearing firsthand from stakeholders, the NSF will be able to be responsive to needs and continue to support its commitment to ensuring increased access and diverse STEM workforce.

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Scope of the Evaluation

Spanning three years, the evaluation includes several data collection activities, potentially including surveys, interviews, and focus groups with such individuals representing Principal Investigators (PIs), Co-PIs, scholarship recipients, faculty members, associated institutions, and community members. This approach will ensure a holistic understanding of the Program by capturing feedback from multiple perspectives. We will also consider institution type throughout, which should highlight potentially different experiences by institutional (e.g., HBCUs, MSIs, 2-year colleges, etc.) and individual (e.g., race and ethnicity, first-generation college student, gender identity, disability status, etc.) characteristics.

Additional Resources

FAQs

Why is the National Science Foundation evaluating its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program?

The NSF is interested in understanding ways to improve its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program. One way to do this is to first understand what is working well and identify opportunities for growth by listening to the individuals who have engaged or interacted with the program.

What is the evaluation of the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program about?

For the evaluation that the WKC Team will conduct, there will be a focus on understanding the recruitment and application process and perceptions of the Program among the community. In general, the purpose of this evaluation is to (a) understand overall perceptions of the Program and (b) identify what is working well and opportunities for growth.

Who is conducting the evaluation?

NSF has contracted with WhitworthKee Consulting who is collaborating with RTI International (the WKC Team) to conduct an independent evaluation of the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. WhitworthKee is an 8(a) minority-owned small business headquartered in Washington, D.C., that specializes in program evaluation; primary research; organizational assessments centering diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the provision of technical assistance. WKC conducts research and evaluation studies using culturally responsive evaluation practices. RTI is a client-centric, mission-driven organization committed to turning knowledge into practice and improving the human condition. 

Please note that there is another evaluation occurring simultaneously; however, the focus of that evaluation is on outcomes of the Program and is being conducted by SRI International separately from that of the WKC Team.

How will you make sure the evaluation respects different cultures and includes everyone?

WhitworthKee Consulting and RTI International are committed to culturally responsive evaluation practices, including engaging in a way that respects all backgrounds. By “backgrounds” we mean that we consider factors like where people live, their race, ethnicity, gender, and social class throughout the evaluation to make sure that it represents and is inclusive of the different perspectives. To further support this and ensure that we get it right, we are in the process of establishing an Equity Advisory Committee that will be composed of diverse individuals who will offer their expertise and experience throughout the evaluation.

Who will be asked to participate in the evaluation?

Individuals may include current and past Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program participants, current and former faculty/principal investigators (PIs) or co-PIs, higher education administrators, members of the STEM community, and/or K-12 school administrators.

Who can participate in the evaluation?

Eligibility for participation primarily includes institutions or persons currently or previously involved in the Noyce Program. More information about who can participate in this evaluation will be included in communications when we begin inviting individuals to participate in parts of the evaluation.

How will I know if you want me to participate?

If you are identified and selected to participate, a team member will contact you via email or telephone to invite you to the evaluation. You will also receive more specific information about how we are asking you to participate during that time.

Am I required to participate in the evaluation if I am asked?

Your participation is strictly voluntary. You do not have to participate in any part of the evaluation if you do not wish. Please know that we value everyone’s perspective and the more insights and information we hear, the better equipped the NSF is to make improvements to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

What does the evaluation include?

Members of our team will ask participants for their thoughts about the overall Noyce Program, areas for improvement, and their experience. While the plan has not been finalized, we will likely be talking with individuals through one-on-one interviews or focus groups. We have also reviewed documents related to the evaluation to understand the context of the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

Will you keep participants’ answers private/confidential?

Yes. WhitworthKee Consulting and RTI International have strict rules to keep confidential information and data safe. They will remove any personal details from the data and make sure all the information is kept in a secure way.

How will the findings of the evaluation be used?

The information we collect from participants will help us understand how well the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program is meeting its goals. The information, perspectives, and/or feedback that individuals share with us will not impact their ability to receive grants or other forms of support, now or in the future. It will only be used to help the NSF understand how to improve the Program.

How long is this evaluation expected to take?

You may be asked to participate in the evaluation at any point from Fall 2024 until Winter 2025. We plan to have the findings from the evaluation available by Fall 2026. We will update this information if any changes occur.

Can institutions or participants provide feedback during the evaluation?

Feedback from institutions and participants is very important. The evaluation plan includes mechanisms for ongoing input, and an Equity Advisory Committee will provide insights and feedback throughout the process to ensure we are conducting our work in a culturally responsive and responsible way. If you have additional feedback you would like to provide, please contact us directly at WKCNoyceEval@WhitworthKee.com.

Does this evaluation have Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) clearance? What about Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval?

Not yet. Before any data collection, we will submit and receive both Information Collection Request (ICR) and IRB approval. We will update this response once we receive both with the OMB control number and the approving IRB body.

Who do I contact for more information or support?

For more information or support regarding the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Evaluation, you can contact WhitworthKee Consulting, one of the organizations conducting the evaluation. You can email us at WKCNoyceEval@WhitworthKee.com and someone from our team will respond as soon as possible.

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