Recommended Indicators

Indicators show the overall level of REU success, and refer to the broad program outcomes intended by NSF. These indicators serve as a guide to the scope of the evaluation and point to the research questions that guide individual site evaluations. As described by Joy Frechtling Westat in the NSF’s User-Friendly Handbook for Program Evaluation:

Performance indicators fall somewhere between general program statistics and formative/summative evaluations. A performance indicator system is a collection of statistics that can be used to monitor the ongoing status of a program against a set of targets and metrics. Going beyond descriptive statistics, performance indicators begin to provide information that can be measured against a set of goals and objectives.” (p.11).

She goes on to list how indicators provide information to policymakers and educators by:

  • Focusing on key aspects of how an educational program is operating;
  • Indicating what progress is being made;
  • Revealing problem areas.

These indicators have emerged from a collective discussion and review of CISE REU program evaluations conducted by the CISE REU PI community as a means of facilitating our evaluation, strengthening our site cases, and ultimately our research.

The CISE REU recommended indicators are:

  1. What is the demographic picture of REU participants? [Provide graphic depiction of student participants by gender, ethnicity, year in school, majors.]
  2. What are participant attitudes toward the REU experience, and to what degree do they attribute the research experience to future plans in CISE areas? [Describe students’ attitudes about the experience, and its impact on their plans.]
  3. To what degree do REU participants:
    • Acquire research knowledge?
      • Research communication skills?
      • Ethics?
    • Acquire computing knowledge?
      • Computing career knowledge?
    • Develop self-efficacy?
    • Plan to remain in/change CISE majors? (retention)
    • Develop intent to attend graduate school in CISE areas? (recruitment)

[Describe students’ research and computing knowledge exposure and acquisition, level of self-efficacy, intent to continue in CISE at the undergraduate level, and to continue on to graduate school.]

This set of indicators will be labeled and measured by the A La Carte Survey.