NY Sun Works measures its progress internally using a set of 16 key performance indicators, which include metrics such as the number of hours spent training and mentoring partner school teachers, school participation in the annual youth conference, students attending Greenhouse Project hydroponics labs on a regular basis, how much and how often teachers use the curriculum.
The first phase of our assessment was completed October 2016. The study aimed to determine if elementary school students who receive the NY Sun Works curriculum perform better on the NY State Science Achievement test in 4th grade. Scores were obtained from all NYC 4th graders during 2014 and 2015 school years, and schools were compared to peer schools that are not NY Sun Works partners therefore they don’t have a Greenhouse Project Classroom nor they receive the NY Sun Works curriculum.
RESULTS: The 2016 NY Sun Works Curriculum and Science Achievement Report conducted by Kate Gardner Burt, PhD, RD concludes that students who receive the NY Sun Works curriculum are more likely to score higher on the 4th grade science achievement test than students who do not receive the NY Sun Works curriculum. (2016 NY Sun WorksCurriculum and Science Achievement Report, Kate Gardner Burt, PhD, RD, TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY)
In addition, the results of this study also indicate that the NY Sun Works program may not only meet core science requirements but also integrate climate change and sustainability education in a way that improves student’s understanding of science as a whole. Dr. Gardner Burt also states this may be an ideal model that meets the need to integrate climate change and sustainability into the school curriculum, as many States adopt the core curriculum and may be looking into this integration.
Phase 2 and Beyond
NY Sun Works has partnered with Knology, a social science research organization, to develop evaluation instruments using both quantitative and qualitative strategies to help us understand the impact of the NY Sun Works curriculum, as well as how the Greenhouse Classroom program and physical space may support students’ education outcomes. These ongoing evaluation activities will measure students’ interest in science and sustainability topics, mastery of science concepts and knowledge, and environmental consciousness. In 2021, NY Sun Works will work with Knology to study the impact of our highly successful STEM kits initiative during the Pandemic period of school closures.