Project: Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS)

Authors: Anita Smith, Jenifer V. Helms, Mark St. John

Type: Report

Publication: December 2007

The Center for Informal Learning and Schools’ Informal Learning Certificate (ILC) Program: Professional Development and Community for Informal Science Educators Working with Schools–An Evaluation Report (pdf, 30 pages)


Inverness Research served as external evaluators for the Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS) from its inception in 2002 as a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Center for Learning and Teaching. One of the programs that CILS developed was the Informal Learning Certificate (ILC) for informal science educators (mostly museum-based) who work with K-12 schools. Through this three-year commitment, which involved face-to-face workshops, conferences, and online communication, the ILC program aimed to provide participants with intellectual and professional grounding, community, and a range of tools to improve their work with teachers, students, and school systems. Three cohorts totaling 84 participants completed the ILC program.

Throughout the five years that CILS operated, Inverness Research conducted formative and summative evaluation activities both center-wide and specifically focused on the ILC. This report presents a summary of our view of the ILC, its impacts, challenges, and future opportunities.

Intended Audience

Science Educators, Museum Educators, Professional Development Providers, Teachers, Reform Leaders, Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.