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Current Projects

We go beyond our technical skills as researchers and methodologists and work to truly understand your specific needs. With that in mind, our studies provide the necessary data and recommendations that drive change, efficiency and improvements. Explore our list of current projects to see what Hezel Associates' experts have been working on.


Southern Illinois University NSF IUSE Evaluation (2016 - 2019)

 "EarthCaching for Pre-Service Tachers: Examining Attitudes and Intentions Towards Informal Science Learning"

In June 2016, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) received grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) SIUEto develop and test an EarthCaching-based geoscience curriculum for science content taught to undergraduate education majors. Hezel Associates was hired to evaluate the implementation of the EathCaching project and the research and development activities of the project team. A qualitative evaluation was designed to monitor program implementation, assess the project’s effectiveness, and provide data-driven feedback to the client. The goal of this evaluation is to assess the intellectual merit of SIUE’s research and development activities as well as the broader impacts achieved by the project.

To achieve the goals of the evaluation, Hezel Associates researchers will collect data from program records and interviews with project staff. Program records will be reviewed against the project timeline and work plan, and interview data (collected annually) will be analyzed using an emergent scheme to identify themes . Researchers will provide program staff with two formative data summaries each year to allow staff to make improvements to the project. At the end of the grant period, a final summative report detailing all evaluation findings will be provided to SIUE. 


EdAdvance CT Pathways to Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and Entrepreneurship (2016-2019)

 EdAdvance received a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant to create a novel iteration of the Center for 21st Century Skills’ instructional model. The model is designed to engage predominately underrepresented students from diverse technical high schools and comprehensive high schools in challenge-based Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) coursework. The coursework is in close alignment with the Connecticut (CT) Advanced Manufacturing Initiative underway in the CT State Colleges and University system, including all 12 CT Community Colleges’ College of Technology technician degree programs. The proposed curricula will engage students in design, research, refinement, and launching, to advance 21st century AMT core competencies, workforce readiness, and entrepreneurial skills. As the project external evaluator, Hezel Associates will provide independent oversight of internal project evaluation activities. 

The evaluation plan for the proposed CPI-AMTE project includes formative and summative elements, and a comparative quasi-experimental design study of Technical High School vs. Comprehensive High School project implementation sites. This comparative study will examine differences in fidelity of implementation and student outcomes, specifically entrepreneurial skill development, 21st century inquiry skill acquisition, mathematics and science engagement, college and career readiness, and career interest in STEM. The project’s internal evaluator will conduct the evaluation activities and a Hezel Associates researcher will oversee the project evaluation design and comparative study design, collaborate on logic model development, and prepare the summative evaluation. Hezel Associates’ continued oversight will assist program staff in making informed programmatic improvements.


The Education Initiative Evaluation (2016-2019)

The Rapides Foundation is an organization focused on improving public health in Central Louisiana. The Foundation operates with an evidence-based belief that a more educated population fosters a healthy population; therefore, improving K-12 education within the nine parishes in its service area is a priority. To that end, they have undertaken the Education Initiative, in which professional and leadership development (PD/LD) are provided to teaRapides Logochers and administrators in all nine parishes. Two types of training operate at the regional level and are facilitated by external sources: Kagan, a national teacher professional development provider, and the Center for Educational Leadership, a school leadership development provider from the University of Washington. The Foundation also awards Effective Schools Grants designed to meet specific PD/LD needs within individual districts.

Hezel Associates was hired to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of The Education Initiative. The evaluation consists of three separate, but interrelated components with distinct research questions: (a) a formative evaluation, examining the implementation fidelity and quality of the initiative components; (b) an efficacy study, investigating district and school differences in outcomes of interest (e.g., teacher and leader effectiveness and student achievement), and also includes targeted, qualitative case studies at the school level; and (c) a theory-building study to explore the initiative in the broader context of programs outside of Louisiana that are theoretically similar to the Foundation’s initiative.

The formative study is designed as a mixed methods study, in which data are collected via program-related documents, PD/LD participant knowledge assessments, PD/LD participant quality feedback questionnaires, observations of PD/LD sessions, a Support Quality Questionnaire administered to all teachers and administrators in the nine districts, superintendent and other stakeholder interviews, and a focus group with technical assistance staff. Analysis consists of descriptive statistics for quantitative data, a constant comparative method for qualitative narrative, and a synthesis of all data.

The efficacy study uses data provided by the Louisiana Department of Education. Hezel Associates will compute descriptive and inferential statistics (e.g., hierarchical linear modeling) to assess school-level factors related to desired outcomes. Regression modeling will allow for the identification of schools where case study research will be conducted, based on specific criteria that indicate the level of benefit they are receiving from the initiative. Finally, the theory-building study uses data collected in the formative and efficacy studies, and compares and contrasts findings to information gleaned from a literature review of similar initiatives nationwide.

Findings from the three studies will be included in a mid-year and an annual report, in addition to separate efficacy study reports. The theory-building study will result in an iterated logic model for the initiative. Collectively, these findings will serve to inform the Foundation of the success of the initiative’s components on short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals; provide feedback that can help improve programming; and assess how the initiative compares to similar work outside of the state.


Evaluation of the Rider University STEM-Ed NSF Noyce Project (2015-2021)

Rider University received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to implement STEM-Ed: A Grow-Your-Own Pipeline Program for Pre-Service Underrepresented High School Science Teachers. In addition to the traditional STEM and Education curriculum, STEM-Ed scholars will receive full-tuition scholarships, and will be trained in culturally Riderresponsive classroom management (CRCM) techniques as well as practices in science education for new civic-engagements and responsibilities (SENCER), which are hypothesized to promote retention in STEM teaching. This evaluation is intended to examine the quality of implementation of Rider University’s STEM-Ed project, as well as the affective, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes of its participants. Hezel Associates was hired to assess the implementation and impact of the project and the effectiveness of the proposed teacher development model in terms of its ability to recruit, prepare, and retain STEM students in teaching careers in high-need urban school districts.

Hezel Associates will use a mixed methods approach; specifically, researchers will use a convergent parallel design, where qualitative and quantitative data are collected separately and concurrently, in order to obtain adequate information for answering the research questions. Data will be collected through interviews with program staff and faculty, document reviews, and participant questionnaires. These data will be analyzed separately and then compared and contrasted to give an overall picture of the program findings. Brief, informal data summaries describing data collection/analysis methods and findings will be provided to project staff on a quarterly basis. A comprehensive final report which includes an executive summary, evaluation methodology used, summary of the project, presentation of formative and summative results, conclusions and implications, and recommendations for future research and sustainability will be completed at grant end (2021). The Hezel Associates team will also work with the PI to generate findings tailored to contribute to the body of research evidence relating to teacher preparation, with the goal of improving collective understanding of the factors that influence excellence in new STEM teachers.



Noyce Northeast Regional Conferences Evaluation (2015-2016)

SUNY Cortland, in conjunction with Drexel University and the University of Massachusetts Boston, organized and hosted three annual conferences for Noyce Scholars, Fellows, and faculty in the Northeast Cortlandregion. The conferences were designed to bring together individuals participating in the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program designed to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors to become K-12 teachers. The conferences, held in 2013, 2014, and 2015, focused on providing a platform for learning about best practices in STEM teaching methods and developing STEM content knowledge.

Themes allowed for discussion of specific theme-related content, while also offered general STEM teaching professional development. Evaluation occurred at the time of each event and explored attendees’ attitudes toward and perceptions of their experience. These data were useful for understanding immediate outcomes; however, no longer-term information was collected. Hezel Associates' study is designed to collect new data from participants, as well as integrate previously collected evaluation data into the analysis.


Syracuse University’s NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Evaluation (2015-2020)

Syracuse University (www.syr.edu) has been awarded a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant will prepare SyracuseUniversitymasters and doctoral students at Syracuse University with the technical and professional skills needed to excel in the field. The program, Education Model Program on Water-Energy Research (EMPOWER), will take an interdisciplinary approach, with schools across the University collaborating to create curriculum. Students will be trained in the most cutting edge practices related to communications, public policy, management, and law to help them communicate findings to a diverse group of individuals and stakeholders. Ultimately, the program will produce highly skilled science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) individuals who will play a critical role in the energy sector.

Hezel Associates will serve as the third-party evaluator for the grant, working collaboratively with Syracuse University to create a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation to collect data from program activities. Hezel Associates will analyze the implementation of the grant and provide formative feedback to assess, monitor and improve program activities. Hezel Associates will also explore impact of the grant on the STEM community and identify any promising practices that have emerged during grant activities that could be shared with a broader audience.


Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) NSF ATE Evaluation (2015-2018)

Suffolk County Community College (www.sunysuffolk.edu; SCCC) is implementing an Advanced Technical Education (ATE)-funded effort to advance New York State’s ongoing investment in sustainable energy industry growth, addressing the consequent need for skilled workers at entry, intermediate, and advanced levels on Long Island. Hezel Associates was hired by SCCC to conduct an implementation and impact evaluation of The Leading Innovation through Green High-Tech Engineering, Sustainability & Security (LIGHTES^2) program. Hezel Associates researchers will adhere to evaluation guidelines of ATE-funded programs set forth by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Hezel Associates’ comprehensive evaluation plan integrates (a) monitoring implementation of proposed project activities; (b) feedback to inform project improvement (formative evaluation); and (c) assessment of the effectiveness of the project, in terms of achieving its goals and contributing to the body of STEM content and knowledge-building practices (summative evaluation). Hezel Associates will provide an independent external evaluation to support all three purposes and generate findings from which judgments can be made regarding further investment in understanding sustainable energy curricula. A mixed methods approach to assess both implementation and impact will be utilized by Hezel Associates researchers, using methods specifically designed for SCCC, including: annual interviews with project staff regarding implementation, an annual review of project documentation, an annual questionnaire to assess outcomes of educators participating in the Summer Workshops, and an annual participant questionnaire to determine their perceptions of the program. Hezel researchers will analyze quantitative and qualitative data to support findings, and provide SCCC with evidence-based recommendations to continually improve LIGHTES^2 in the form of annual data summaries.


Alpena Community College USDOL TAACCCT (Round 4) Evaluation (2015-2018)

In fall 2014, the USDOL awarded Alpena Community College (ACC; discover.alpenacc.edu) in Michigan a Round 4 TAACCCT grant. Starting in June 2015, the college engaged Hezel Associates as the external Alpenaevaluator for the four-year project focusing on four STEM programs: aerospace, cybersecurity, green energy/smart grid, and advanced manufacturing. Hezel Associates is conducting all evaluation activities associated with the grant, as required by the USDOL, addressing the development, implementation, and impact of the grant activities.

Hezel Associates is using a concurrent embedded mixed-methods study in order to answer the research questions. Hezel Associates researchers gather data using annual reviews of program documentation; interviews with key program staff and industry partners/stakeholders; focus groups and a questionnaire with program participants; and review of extant data prepared by the college and external data sources. In order to assess the impact of the project on performance measures, Hezel Associates is using a quasi-experimental, matched participant design using propensity score matching to identify a comparison group for the programs of study. The Project Director and other stakeholders benefit from a formative and summative evaluation, including recommendations, supplied through three interim reports and one final report, to be delivered in September 2018.


Virginia Community College System Assessing CPL and Mentoring Pilot Programs (2015-2016)

Hezel Associates has been hired by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS; www.vccs.edu) to conduct an evaluation that will assess the implementation and impact of the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) VCCSand Mentoring programs being piloted as part of the Department of Labor Virginia Veterans Services Demonstration Project. This evaluation will be a comprehensive mixed methods study and data will be collected from five pilot sites: Germanna Community College, Lord Fairfax Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College and Tidewater Community College.

The evaluation will provide feedback to improve implementation and assess the promise of these programs by comparing outcomes including, or theoretically linked to, credential attainment and employment between students receiving prior learning assessment (PLA), and mentoring support with those who have not.


Delaware Technical Community College TAACCCT (Round 4) Evaluation (2014-2018)

Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC; www.dtcc.edu) consists of four campuses across the state of Delaware and has a history of U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community DTCCCollege Career Training (TAACCCT) grant wins for Rounds 1 through 3. In fall 2014, the USDOL awarded DTCC a Round 4 TAACCCT grant. Starting in January 2015, Hezel Associates was engaged as the external evaluator for the entire four-year project focusing on two DTCC programs: the Trane Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Controls Center of Excellence Program and the Patient Care Technician Program. Hezel Associates conducts all evaluation activities associated with the grant, as required by the USDOL, addressing the development, implementation, and impact of the grant activities.

Hezel Associates is conducting a concurrent embedded mixed-methods study in order to answer the research questions. Hezel Associates researchers gather data using annual reviews of program documentation; interviews with key program staff, industry partners/stakeholders, and program participants; and review of extant data prepared by the college and state DOL. In order to assess the impact of the project on performance measures, Hezel Associates is using a quasi-experimental, matched participant design using propensity score matching to identify a comparison group for the programs of study. The Project Director and other stakeholders benefit from a formative and summative evaluation, including recommendations, supplied through three interim reports and one final report, to be delivered in September 2018.