University of Colorado at Boulder

Out-of-School-Time Science Learning

Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER) is conducting a study to map the U.S. national landscape of science- and technology-focused out-of-school-time (OST) programs. The study targets OST programs for middle- and high-school-aged youth, including after-school programs, camps, workshops, internships, and other models.


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Aims of the MOST-Science Study: Mapping Out-of-School-Time Science

This study seeks to build a broad national picture of the extensive activity in out-of-school-time science, technology and engineering programming for young people. Millions of dollars are invested in these programs, and tens of thousands of students participate - yet as a community, we have no truly comprehensive view of the wide variety of formats, audiences, and approaches that are represented by the many active programs.

Where, when, and by whom are these science-rich programs conducted? What types of experiences do they offer to what kinds of students, with what goals? What organizational and experiential factors affect the outcomes for these youth? Ultimately, we wish to understand how these differences in program design are related to youth outcomes such as STEM learning, attitudes and interest, and their later career and educational choices. To answer these questions, we are gathering data through documents, interviews, and the online MOST-Science Questionnaire.

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Thiry, H., Archie, T., Arreola Peña, M., & Laursen, S. L. (2015).  Linkages between youth diversity and organizational and program characteristics of out-of-school-time science programs:  A mixed-methods study.  International Journal of Science Education Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, published online 19 Nov 2015.  DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2015.1105397. Link to abstract

Laursen, S. L., Thiry, H., Archie, T., & Crane, R. (2013).  Variations on a theme: Characteristics of out-of-school-time science programs offered by distinct organization types. Afterschool Matters, 17, 36-49. Download paper

Thiry, H., Laursen, S., & Archie, T. (2012, October).   Nuts and Bolts: Organizational and Program Characteristics of Youth Out-of-School-Time Programs Focusing on Science, Engineering, and Technology. [Report to the Noyce Foundation].  Boulder, CO: Ethnography & Evaluation Research, University of Colorado Boulder. Download report

Crane, R., Thiry, H., & Laursen, S. (2011). Broadening the view: First steps toward mapping the national landscape of out-of-school-time science education. Presented at Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good, 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 8-12. Download paper


Participant information: Archived

We are no longer gathering data for this study. To learn more about the study design, visit the questionnaire start page or the MOST-Science FAQs.


MOST-Science is supported by the Noyce Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under award DRL-1010953.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these reports are those of the researchers, and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation or the Noyce Foundation.

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