Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)
A - Statutorily created to fund technology.
National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate For Education and Human Resources (EHR)
The ITEST program is funded by H-1B visa revenues in direct response to the need to ensure a high-quality future STEM and ICT workforce that can meet U.S. technology needs. The goals of the ITEST program are as follows:
- To develop, implement, study, and evaluate interventions that encourage K-12 students to develop interest in and to be prepared for careers in the STEM and ICT workforce of the future.
- To produce research findings that build knowledge about approaches, models, and interventions involving K-12-aged children and teachers that are most likely to increase the nation's capacity and innovation in the STEM and ICT workforce of the future.
- To equip teachers with the resources to ensure that their students consider choosing and are prepared to enter the STEM and ICT workforce of the future.
ITEST proposals may focus on any STEM or ICT-intensive content area supported by NSF, provided the project addresses specific needs of K-12-aged students or teachers preparing for the future U.S. workforce. NSF is especially interested in supporting investigators to identify established or emerging STEM or ICT areas of focus and create new strategies, scale-ups, or research projects within those areas that may yield
further development of innovation or capacity within the STEM workforce of the future. In addition to technical and STEM content, projects may also provide the opportunity for students to learn and practice essential skills (e.g., conflict management, leadership, knowledge of workplace ethics, negotiation, or self-direction) (http://www.p21.org).
ITEST invests in four types of projects:
- ITEST strategies projects: The goal of ITEST Strategies projects is to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that support K-12 students' engagement in authentic, relevant experiences that reflect the skills, knowledge, and practices represented in the STEM and ICT workforce and motivate students to pursue STEM and ICT career trajectories. ITEST strategies may also devise ways to equip teachers with the appropriate resources to ensure that their students consider and are prepared for choosing to enter the STEM and ICT workforce of the future.
- ITEST Research projects: The goal of ITEST Research projects is to produce empirical findings and research tools that contribute to knowledge about which approaches, models, and interventions with K-12 students and teachers are most likely to
increase capacity in the STEM and ICT-intensive workforce of the future.
- ITEST Scale-up projects: The goal of ITEST Scale-up projects is to apply strategies to enhance student or teacher knowledge of, or disposition toward, STEM and ICT careers that have evidence of effectiveness under routine conditions to a
broader audience for the purpose of learning effective steps in expanding the adoption of successful innovations in school and out-of-school settings. Scale-up projects can include expanding existing designs, implementations, and tests of research and theory-based models or models based in best practice and professional expertise, to
engage, motivate, and prepare students to be participants in the STEM and ICT workforce of the future.
- ITEST Resource Center: One Resource Center will be funded to provide technical support for all ITEST projects and have responsibility for national dissemination of program models, materials, and best practices.
History of Funding
Abstracts of recent ITEST awards are available at http://www.nsf.gov/awards/award_visualization.jsp?org=NSF&pims_id=5467&ProgEleCode=7227,7774&ProgOrganization=DRL&BooleanElement=true&BooleanRef=true&from=fund.
Because the ITEST program will be involved in a set of interrelated program evaluations, all projects must include project-level evaluation plans. These plans should be for formative and summative evaluations that assess the impact of the project's activities, progress, and success in meeting goals. An external evaluator who conducts at least the summative evaluation is required. Evaluations of strategies, scale-up, and resource center projects must:
- include a clear presentation of the questions that will guide the evaluation;
- specify indicators of impact on participants, such as the specific outcomes that will be measured (e.g., knowledge, attitude, motivation);
- provide clear descriptions of the research design that is appropriate for the questions including the sampling strategy used;
- describe how the data will be collected including the instruments to be used and evidence of their quality;
- explain the methods of analysis;
- describe any basis for comparisons; and
- provide the timeline for the evaluation process.
If materials are developed as part of the intervention, appropriate plans for expert review and field-testing of materials should be included. In some cases the evaluation plans for strategies projects will be closely intertwined with plans to conduct research about the effectiveness of the strategy to achieve desired outcomes. Research projects also must include evaluation plans appropriate to the goals of the research activity. These plans might include expert review at key stages of the project, development of indicators to assess the levels of rigor with which the research is implemented, or assessment of the scope and impact of the products of the research by an independent advisory committee. Specific plans need to be included in the proposal to show how the project will use formative evaluation findings and will report the summative evaluation of research conducted.
All U.S. organizations with an educational mission are eligible for ITEST. All ITEST projects must demonstrate evidence of partnerships and collaboration in the formulation, implementation, and/or interpretation and dissemination of the project. Eligibility for Innovation through Institutional Integration (I3) is limited to institutions of higher education (including two- and four-year colleges) located and accredited in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members.
The deadline to submit a proposal was November 13, 2012. Similar deadlines are anticipated annually.
Duration and Funding Level are all pending availability of funds for FY2013: Strategies projects will be for up to three years in duration, with award sizes at most $1.2 million. Research projects will range from three to five years in duration, with award sizes up to $1,200,000. Scale-up projects will range from three to five years in duration, with award sizes up to $2 million. The Resource Center project will be supported for a 3 year duration with a total award size of up to $2 million. The size of the request should be appropriate to the scope of the project. The requests should be appropriate to the duration and scope of the Strategies, Research, or Scale-up project. Inclusion of voluntary cost sharing is prohibited.
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