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STEM Program Assessment & Evaluation

ORAU maintains a long-standing focus on education and workforce capacity building in scientific and technical fields, as well as a commitment to evaluation and continuous improvement, ensuring well-managed programs, efficient processes and services that produce desired outputs and outcomes.

The span of ORAU’s assessment and evaluation efforts includes evaluation of STEM education programs for U.S. government agencies, private and non-profit organizations, and universities that target K-12 students and teachers; university students and faculty; and Ph.D.-level researchers.

To date, ORAU has produced more than 600 evaluation and data reports.

ORAU has experience evaluating national and international, single-site and multi-site STEM-focused programs and focuses on evaluating federally-funded programs, processes and services at national laboratories and universities. We conduct assessments and evaluations that inform stakeholders by providing outcome-oriented, data-driven information on projects or programs.

Our evaluation efforts are used to promote continuous improvement and to help assess if a program, process or service meets intended goals, outcomes, or performance metrics. ORAU has the technical capability and trained staff to conduct multiple concurrent evaluations and related activities for our clients, consistently safeguarding the integrity of evaluation data and meeting project deadlines.

Impact Areas

What we do

  • Design and plan customized evaluations
  • Conduct comprehensive formative, summative, and annual evaluations for STEM-related programs
  • Perform long-term, follow-up impact evaluations of STEM-related programs
  • Conduct process, organization, and service evaluations
  • Contribute to proposal development and grant writing
  • Organize, administer, and support data collection efforts
  • Perform quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Create data visualizations
  • Report and present findings
Man works at a laptop in a business setting

What we offer

  • Ph.D.- and master’s-level program evaluators specializing in STEM
  • Extensive experience in evaluation and applied research
  • Diverse portfolio of evaluation products and deliverables
  • Access to our own Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certified team members
Asian woman working laptop at office

Why choose ORAU?

We specialize in these types of program evaluations:

  • External evaluations of STEM-focused grant programs (e.g., NSF-, NIH-, NASA-funded) based at universities, research facilities, and in school systems
  • Evaluation of portfolios of STEM research participation programs
  • Annual and/or longitudinal evaluations of STEM programs and portfolios of programs
  • STEM-related process, organization, or service evaluations

Examples of assessment and evaluation needs we can meet:

  • Assisting with the articulation of logic models and theories of change
  • Conducting evaluability assessments and needs assessments
  • Identifying stakeholders and prioritizing their needs
  • Designing evaluation tools and strategies based on context-based best practices
  • Conducting data collection activities related to program implementation, outputs, outcomes
  • Summarizing data with appropriate qualitative and quantitative analytic techniques
  • Disseminating findings to promote improvement and provide evidence of effectiveness and impact
  • Assessing evaluation use and influence to increase the value of program evaluation

Areas of expertise and interest for evaluation and research studies:

  • Collaboration theory, strategic partnerships, and collaborative network analyses
  • Measurement of transdisciplinary skills in STEM fields
  • Drivers of the mentor/mentee experience
  • Development of trainee or early career skills, competencies, attitudes, and intentions in STEM, including STEM identity, leadership, ownership, and sense of belonging
  • Development of professional networking in early career STEM
  • Impacts of participation in research experiences
  • Linkages between domain-specific constructs and appropriate measurement/evaluation tools
  • Factors related to persistence among STEM majors

Contributing to STEM education evaluation nationally

ORAU collaborated with a coalition of partners (including the American Evaluation Association's STEM Topical Interest Group and the Google- and NCWIT-originated CS Impact Network) to:

  • Enhance capacity in evaluation of STEM education and workforce development initiatives
  • Collect useful resources for STEM evaluation
  • Build a prototype repository for resources including surveys, protocols, and handbooks

Read more about this effort

Illustration of how the centralized STEM hub works

Podcast: How the pandemic has impacted career development for women in science

How has the coronavirus pandemic magnified barriers to career development for women in science? That's the question being researched by Laura Davenport, Ph.D., ORAU evaluation specialist, and Firouzeh Sabri, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physics and Material Science at the University of Memphis. Their research is funded through the ORAU-Directed Research and Development program. In this episode, we discuss how these scientists and their teams came to work together, where they are in the process, and what happens next.

Listen to the podcast

A female mentor and female student conduct research in a lab setting

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s assessment and evaluation capabilities, contact