Evaluation of the Long-Term Impact of a University High School Summer Science Program on Students’ Interest and Perceived Abilities in Science
Many biomedical research universities have established outreach programs for precollege students and teachers and partnerships with local school districts to help meet the challenges of science education reform. Science outreach programs held in university research facilities can make science more exciting and innovative for high school students and can offer them much more insight into the nature of science and laboratory research than is available in most high school science courses. This paper describes a long-term follow-up study of high school students enrolled in the Summer Science Academy program at the University of Rochester to investigate the program’s impact on students’ perceived abilities in higher level science courses, on participation in extracurricular science programs, as well as the program’s impact on student interest in pursuing a career in science. Students’ exposure during SSA to advanced laboratory techniques and their participation in authentic science investigations provided them with a very positive hands-on experience. Students who attended the program indicated that it provided a positive influence on their performance in advanced science courses, as well as their decision to participate in other science programs and their desire to pursue a career in science.