A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Girlstart Program Impact Statement: 2015-16

Year Published: 2016

This non-experimental evaluation focused on pre- and post-program survey results distributed to girls enrolled in Girlstart After School and Summer Camp programs throughout Texas. The study evaluated whether program participants showed an increase in confidence, ability, and desire to pursue and accomplish STEM related opportunities and future careers. The survey results for Girlstart’s After School program met or exceeded all goals set by the program prior to the post-program survey, showing a majority of girls interested in STEM, pursuing STEM careers, and feeling more confident in their abilities to complete STEM related tasks. Summer Camp evaluation results showed a similar pattern, however, results were not compared to pre-survey goals. 

Program Name: Girlstart

Program Description: Girlstart operates afterschool and summer programs designed to engage girls in informal, hands-on STEM learning opportunities. Girlstart also sponsors an annual Girls in STEM conference, various community events, and professional development that reaches over 8,500 students, community members, and school-day teachers. Girlstart After School is a free, weekly STEM afterschool program that reaches 1,441 girls annually, through 35 schools in Central Texas, and in 20 communities outside Central Texas. Girlstart Summer Camps are week-long day camps for students entering the 4th through 8th grades that reach 719 students annually. Both the summer and afterschool programs operate with the goal of increasing girls’ interest in STEM and STEM careers.

Scope of the Evaluation: Local

Program Type: Summer, Afterschool

Location: Texas

Community Type: Urban, Suburban

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School

Program Demographics: 74 percent of Girlstart After School participants qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, 20 percent of participants’ parents did not graduate from high school, and 35 percent of students speak a language other than English at home. 64 percent of students in 2016 were Latina, 13 percent were white, 11 percent were African-American, 4 percent were Asian-American, and 8 percent identified as multiethnic or of another self-identified ethnic group. Compared to participant demographics in Girlstart’s afterschool programs, fewer summer camp participants qualified for free or reduced-price lunch at school, and fewer participants were students of color.

Program Website: http://www.girlstart.org/

Evaluator: Girlstart

Evaluation Methods: Both afterschool and summer programs used pre- and post-program surveys designed to assess changes in interest in STEM fields and careers. Surveys were distributed and reviewed by Girlstart staff. For girls attending the 2016 Girls in STEM conference, post-conference surveys assessed participants’ interest in STEM, enjoyment of STEM activities, and academic and career goals related and unrelated to STEM.

Evaluation Type: Non-experimental

Summary of Outcomes:

Of Girlstart After School program participants, 85 percent agreed with the statement “I like science!” 97 percent of program participants wanted more STEM in schools and wanted to return to Girlstart next year. 92 percent of Girlstart After School program participants demonstrated confidence in solving problems through willingness to redesign their activity if it did not work on the first try and 82 percent of all participants were able to correctly identify all of the steps of the engineering design process. 99 percent of Girlstart After School program participants expressed a moderate interest in pursuing a career in a STEM related field. All results from the post-program survey met or exceeded the Girlstart desired outcomes for program goals.

Of Girlstart Summer Camp participants, 88 percent of participants reported a desire to take more STEM classes in high school and 89 percent of participants said that they were more interested in STEM after attending the Girlstart Summer Camp. 93 percent of camp participants said they wanted to attend another Girlstart Camp and 90 percent of Summer Camp participants agreed with the statement “I like science!” Of Girlstart Summer Camp participants, 96 percent reported a willingness to redesign their activity if it did not work the first time and 86 percent demonstrated knowledge of the engineering design process. 95 percent of camp participants agreed with the statement, “If I try hard, I can be good at science.” 78 percent of Summer Camp participants expressed a strong interest in pursuing a career in STEM. Furthermore, 83 percent of camp participants said they think developing games, robots, or apps would be a fun career.