Project: American Museum of Natural Science (AMNH), Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), High School Science Research Program

Authors: Anita Smith

With assistance of: Becky Carroll, Pam Castori, Heather Mitchell, Mark St. John

Type: Report

Publication: April 2008

In-Depth Science Research Experiences for Teens: The American Museum of Natural History’s ITEST High School Science Research Program – Summative Evaluation Report (pdf, 57 pages)


In January 2005, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) was awarded a three-year ITEST grant (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) through the National Science Foundation (award #04-23417). This “AMNH-ITEST High School Science Research Program” aimed to target 120 urban high school youth, grades 10-12, from the five boroughs of New York City. Building on the previous similar program models, this ITEST program was designed to provide two years of immersion in technology-based scientific research – in this case, in genetics and astrophysics. Three cohorts of 40-50 students each (half in genetics, half in astrophysics) study the foundations of their chosen topic and learn to use advanced technology in conducting their own authentic research. Inverness Research has been the external evaluator for the project.

Through our evaluation, we found the AMNH-ITEST program to have successfully met its goals of helping students gain experience with technology, developing specific scientific research skills, learning science concepts and increasing their awareness and commitment to STEM career paths. We found that the program proved to be not only enriching in those regards, but personally transformative for some students. In addition, we detected ways in which the AMNH-ITEST program benefited program-providers, i.e., program staff, mentors, and the museum in general.

The following report includes more in-depth information about the AMNH-ITEST program, nature of the youth experience, benefits of the program for youth, mentors and the museum, and program challenges and opportunities, as well as an appendix with stories of four case study students.

Intended Audience

American Museum of Natural History, Museums and Informal Science Education Institutions, Directors of Youth Programs, Science and Mathematics Educators, Funders, and general public.

NSF Grant

Award #04-23417


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.