Cornerstone Evaluation Associates

Our Projects

Web Sites

Using a web survey to update NASA’s CD-ROM for teachers

The web sites Imagine the Universe!, StarChild and Astronomy Picture of the Day have been put on a CD-ROM so that teachers and other interested individuals can more easily and consistently access the information they need. As NASA’s Exploration of the Universe Division headed into the CD-ROM’s 9th annual edition, they wanted feedback from CD users in order to make data-driven decisions about the changes they needed to make. They wanted to learn who was using the CD-ROM, how they were using it and what suggestions they had about improving the CD-ROM. Cornerstone consulted a small group of CD users before designing an on-line survey to obtain critical data from a larger representative sample of users. Then, Cornerstone analyzed and interpreted the feedback so that the NASA team could confidently and effectively revise the CD-ROM.

Pittsburgh teachers assist in improving web-based lessons for Berkeley’s Space Science Lab

The Center for Science Education at the Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory maintains a web site, SEGway, to provide education and public outreach about NASA-funded space science projects. One of the goals of this site is to provide teachers with in-class activities and other resources for instructing students in earth and physical sciences. Cornerstone engaged 20 Pittsburgh teachers from K-12 to try out SEGway lessons in their classrooms and then met with these teachers in a focus group for sharing their experiences with the materials. Their feedback provided critical information for Berkeley’s science educators to make informed changes to SEGway’s classroom-based lessons. http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/segway

Turning to technical experts and web site users to evaluate NASA’s Imagine the Universe!

A web-based service of NASA’s Exploration of the Universe Division, Imagine the Universe! provides students, teachers and the general public with a glimpse of the structure and evolution of the Universe as well as information about satellites that carry the instruments allowing scientists to probe deeper into space. It features a Teacher’s Corner stocked full with study guides, lesson plans and information about resources for teachers of students ages 14 and up—http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

Cornerstone conducted both technical and practical studies to help guide Imagine’s developers in making critical changes to the site itself and to the teacher materials it contains. An expert in web site usability and a reading specialist gave technical feedback about the site’s reading level, its navigability, design, visual appeal, performance and multi-media issues. Both in a ‘live’ focus group and an on-line survey, teacher users shared their experiences in interacting with the web site and in using the lesson plans and materials in their classrooms.