The report, titled "What it Takes: Pre-K-12 Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics" showcases nine programs with significant evidence of effectiveness and eleven that warrant further research, based on an in-depth evaluation of research evidence programs by the BEST Blue Ribbon Panel on Pre-K-12 Education and the American Institutes of Research (AIR).
The BEST assessment is among the first to require independent evaluation to prove effectiveness. The BEST panel, chaired by Dr. Shirley Malcom, head director for Education and Human Resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, screened 200 programs and selected 34 for detailed examination. Other panel leaders included Carlos Rodriquez, principal research scientist with the American Institutes for Research, and Linda Rosen, president of Education and Management Innovations, Inc.
The results are as significant for what was not found as they are for what was ultimately discovered: not a single program earned the highest possible rating of verified, as defined by five studies of acceptable rigor, proving that such evidence is hard to find. Most programs concentrate their limited resources on providing services and recruiting participants rather than on rigorous and costly impact studies. The BEST Panel developed a protocol that defined a rigorous study as one that provides meaningful research evidence comparing the outcomes of students who experience a given intervention and those who do not. Other category ratings include: probable, notable and meriting further research.