Evaluation Publications

Sunstones at The Lawrence

From the classroom to the floor: Applying language supports to new museum contexts

The Lawrence Hall of Science implemented a two-phase project, Building Understanding in Language Diverse Students, to modify school group workshops and drop-in public programs to better support linguistically diverse students and visitors. As we applied language support strategies developed for the school group workshops to additional areas of the science center, we encountered emergent complexities related to understanding our audience, designing program-specific modifications, and implementing professional learning opportunities for part-time facilitators and volunteers.

Children playing on the DNA sculpture at the Lawrence

What drives visitor engagement in exhibits? The interaction between visitor activation profiles and exhibit features

This paper explores the use of science learning activation to understand how various types of visitors engage with different exhibits. In particular, we examined how learners engaged in two very different resource-rich exhibits using two distinct analytic techniques.

Two children and a staff member are working together during a science activity.

Development of the International Ocean Literacy Survey: measuring knowledge across the world

The Ocean Literacy movement began in the U.S. in the early 2000s, and has recently become an international effort. The focus on marine environmental issues and marine education is increasing, and yet it has been difficult to show progress of the ocean literacy movement, in part, because no widely adopted measurement tool exists.

The Lawrence Hall of Science

When I grow up: the relationship of science learning activation to STEM career preferences

This paper proposes three new measures of components STEM career preferences (affinity, certainty, and goal), and then explores which dimensions of science learning activation (fascination, values, competency belief, and scientific sensemaking) are predictive of STEM career preferences.

Children playing on Pheena the Whale

How science learning activation enables success for youth in science learning experiences

Expanding on recent advances in science education, cognitive and social psychology, and sociocultural studies, the paper explores a construct called science learning activation and a theoretical framework that describes the characteristics, function, and impact of this construct. Authors define science learning activation as a set of dispositions, skills, and knowledge that commonly enable success in proximal science learning experiences and are in turn influenced by these successes.

Students in front of The Lawrence

Assessment at the intersection of science and literacy

The authors of this article, all of whom have been a part of this effort to assess argumentation in literacy-rich science curriculum, have struggled with our attempts to build 3 argument-related assessments—understanding, critiquing, and constructing arguments about scientific phenomena in both oral and written modes.

A young person looks through a telescope of the view at The Lawrence.

The learning benefits of being willing and able to engage in scientific argumentation

Engaging in science as an argumentative practice can promote students’ critical thinking, reflection, and evaluation of evidence. However, many do not approach science in this way. Furthermore, the presumed confrontational nature of argumentation may run against cultural norms particularly during the sensitive time of early adolescence. This paper explores whether middle-school students’ ability to engage in critical components of argumentation in science impacts science classroom learning.