On the Design and Validation of Assessing Tools for Measuring the Impact of Programs Promoting STEM Vocations

Front Psychol. 2022 Jun 27;13:937058. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.937058. eCollection 2022.

Abstract

This paper presents the design and validation process of a set of instruments to evaluate the impact of an informal learning initiative to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) vocations in students, their families (parents), and teachers. The proposed set of instruments, beyond assessing the satisfaction of the public involved, allow collecting data to evaluate the impact in terms of changes in the consideration of the role of women in STEM areas and STEM vocations. The procedure followed to develop the set of instruments consisted of two phases. In the first phase, a preliminary version (v1) of the questionnaires was designed based on the objectives of the Girls4STEM initiative, an inclusive project promoting STEM vocations between 6 and 18 years old boys and girls. Five specific questionnaires were designed, one for the families (post activity), two for the students (pre and post activity) and two for the teachers (pre and post avitivity). A refined version (v2) of each questionnaire was obtained with evidence of content validity after undergoing an expert judgment process. The second phase was the refinement of the (v2) instruments, to ascertain the evidence of reliability and validity so that a final version (v3) was derived. In the paper, a high-quality set of good practices focused on promoting diversity and gender equality in the STEM sector are presented from a Higher Education Institution perspective, the University of Valencia. The main contribution of this work is the achievement of a set of instruments, rigorously designed for the evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of a STEM promoting program, with sufficient validity evidence. Moreover, the proposed instruments can be a reference for the evaluation of other projects aimed at diversifying the STEM sector.

Keywords: diversity in STEM; gender stereotypes; informal education; mixed methods; questionnaire validation; self-efficacy.