First Advisor

William Becker

Date of Publication

Winter 3-11-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science


Science Teaching




After-school programs -- Oregon -- Evaluation, Problem youth -- Oregon -- Attitudes, Science -- Study and teaching (Elementary) -- Oregon -- Evaluation, Outdoor education -- Oregon -- Evaluation



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 163 pages)


This study contributed to the body of research that supports a holistic model of afterschool learning through the design of an afterschool intervention that benefits elementary school students of low socioeconomic status. This qualitative study evaluated a science focused afterschool curriculum that was designed using principles from Risk and Resiliency Theory, academic motivation theories, science core ideas from the Next Generation Science Standards, and used environmental education philosophy. The research question of this study is: how does an outdoor and STEM based afterschool program impact at-risk students' self-efficacy, belonging and engagement and ability to apply conceptual knowledge of environmental science topics? The study collected information about the participants' affective experiences during the intervention using structured and ethnographic observations and semi-structured interviews. Observations and interviews were coded and analyzed to find patterns in participants' responses. Three participant profiles were developed using the structured observations and ethnographic observations to provide an in depth understanding of the participant experience. The study also assessed the participants' abilities to apply conceptual understanding of the program's science topics by integrating an application of conceptual knowledge task into the curriculum. This task in the form of a participant project was assessed using an adapted version of the Portland Metro STEM Partnership's Application of Conceptual Knowledge Rubric. Results in the study showed that participants demonstrated self-efficacy, a sense of belonging and engagement during the program. Over half of the participants in the study demonstrated a proficient understanding of program concepts. Overall, this holistic afterschool program demonstrated that specific instructional practices and a multi-modal science curriculum helped to support the social and emotional needs of at-risk children.


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