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Program Assessment & Evaluation

ORAU is a company with a long-standing focus on education and workforce development, 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 and workforce development 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. To date, ORAU has produced more than 600 evaluation and data reports. 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.

What we do

  • Design and plan customized evaluations
  • Conduct comprehensive formative and summative annual evaluations for STEM-related programs
  • Perform longitudinal evaluations of STEM workforce development programs
  • Conduct process, organization, and service evaluations
  • Contribute to proposal development and grant writing
  • Organize and support data collection efforts
  • Perform quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Create data visualizations
  • Report and present findings
  • Facilitate workgroup meetings
Instructor and students in STEM classroom

What we offer

  • Ph.D. level program evaluators
  • Extensive experience in evaluation and research
  • Diverse portfolio of evaluation products and deliverables
  • Access to our own Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certified team members

Why choose ORAU?

We specialize in these types of program evaluations:

  • External evaluations of STEM-focused grant programs (e.g., NSF-, NIH-, DOE-funded) based at universities and school systems
  • Evaluation of portfolios of STEM workforce development research participation programs
  • Annual and/or longitudinal evaluations of STEM workforce development 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
  • 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 and strategic partnerships
  • Measurement of transdisciplinary skills in STEM fields
  • Drivers of the mentor/mentee experience
  • Development of professional networking in early career STEM
  • Impacts of participation in research interest groups
  • Application of STEM strategies to public health pipeline building
  • Linkages between domain-specific constructs and measurement/evaluation tools
  • Factors related to persistence among STEM majors

Our Experts

Erin Burr

Erin Burr, Ph.D.

Expertise: STEM workforce development and education evaluation in K-20 settings, strategic needs assessment in national laboratories and laboratory systems, impact evaluations/long-term follow-up studies, measurement of evaluation use and influence, applied experimental psychology

Burr has more than 15 years of experience designing, managing, and directing research and evaluation studies in STEM education and workforce development. She specializes in evaluating portfolios of STEM workforce development programs (research participation programs) at national laboratories, the experience and needs of supercomputer users and interdisciplinary programs in higher education. She has experience evaluating national and international, single- and multi-site STEM-focused programs and works with multiple federal agencies, universities and private organizations.

Kimberle Kelly

Kimberle Kelly, Ph.D.

Expertise: STEM education and workforce development evaluation from cradle to career, mixed methods research and evaluation, clinical and cognitive neuroscience, underrepresented groups in STEM

Kelly has more than 25 years of experience managing and directing research and evaluation outcome studies in education and mental health. As an expert in STEM education initiatives from cradle to career, she has worked in strategic partnerships to develop, fund, execute, advise and evaluate programs designed to promote a diverse and highly skilled national STEM workforce. Kelly’s academic background is in clinical and cognitive neuroscience, and she has presented her research at multiple national and international conferences. She is a founding member of the American Evaluation Association’s STEM Education and Workforce Development group and is currently the chair of the executive board.

Ann Martin

Ann M. Martin, Ph.D.

Expertise: STEM education evaluation in K-16 and informal settings, social network analysis, collaboration and partnership evaluation, mixed-methods evaluation, meta-evaluation, and community and repository development

Martin has over 10 years of experience in the design, coordination, and evaluation of STEM education, outreach, and workforce development programs, and has an academic research background in astronomy and space sciences. She has evaluated programs as an internal and an external evaluator for multiple federal agencies. She has served in various roles on the executive board of the American Evaluation Association’s STEM Education and Workforce Development interest group since 2013, and is currently the incoming chair.

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s STEM program evaluations, contact Erin Burr at 865.241.4249 or Erin.Burr@orau.org.