9355836 Kalos A key hurdle in the advancement of science at the secondary level is the inability of public and private education to keep up with scientific advances that involve computers. SuperQuest, an NSF funded program, was designed to bring computational tools and techniques to high school students and their teachers, with an ultimate goal of incorporating computational science into the high school curriculum. To date, SuperQuest has involved a national competition, wherein teams of students and their teacher-coaches propose computational science or mathematics problems to investigate. The winning teams are selected by a national review committee. Winners attend three-week summer institutes at one of four SuperQuest Centers, where they learn how to use high- performance computing and visualization to solve their scientific problems. The winners' high schools receive workstations and communications links to the internet. The early success and enthusiasm of these teams has sparked interest in moving SuperQuest toward the next phase in its evolution - to provide broad-based instruction and guidance to educators nationwide in how to integrate computational tools and techniques into secondary science and mathematics curricula. The Cornell Theory Center seeks support from the NSF to conduct a detailed, systematic external evaluation of the SuperQuest program to assess and understand the impact of the program on the high schools and to establish long-term directions and goals as the program evolves to foster secondary school computational science education. The Cornell Theory Center will contract with the Center for Technology in Education to conduct this evaluation in cooperation with the SuperQuest project director. Specifically, the evaluation will answer the following questions: What is the range of models for implementing SuperQuest activities in the schools that have participated in the program? What has been the impact of S uperQuest participation within the different schools on the students, the teachers, and the curriculum and learning environment? What can be learned in general about how advanced computing resources are most effectively and efficiently made available, supported, and used in schools? What kinds of professional development experiences are required for teachers to use computational resources well? What kinds of outreach took place to the broader community? Among the non-winning schools, were there any lasting consequences of the application process? What kinds of information sources do schools who apply to the SuperQuest program use?

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Cornell University
United States
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