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ERIC Number: ED554879
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 163
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-3524-8
Use of Assessment: A Collective Case Study of Museum Educators' Experiences
Bonnell, Francoise Barnes
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
Museums have been transformed from facilities once preoccupied with collecting and displaying artifacts to institutions now mostly focused on education. Museum educators have been added to museums' staff, and large amounts of money have been dedicated to adult and K-12 educational programming. Stakeholders have asked to see the impact of their funding; if museums cannot demonstrate their value then they risk losing support. One such means of demonstrating value is via assessment of K-12 programs, although prior to this study, research on assessment was largely absent. To address this gap in the literature, a qualitative, collective multiple case study was conducted to explore program assessment in museums. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 museum educators and their respective museum directors from Virginia. Findings from this study revealed that while museum educators do conduct assessment of their K-12 education programs, in most cases they use audience research techniques (e.g., surveys, questionnaires). Moreover, a lack of resources (i.e., time, money, and people) prevents museum educators from using comprehensive and effective educational-type assessment methods and creates a number of challenges for them. Finally, museum educators do not have the knowledge about, and training in, the use of authentic assessment tools. The obstacles museum educators encounter directly affect their ability to create productive assessment programs. The results from this study revealed that museum educators understand the importance of assessment and want to improve their assessment practices, but acknowledge that assessment is difficult and complex. The development of a comprehensive professional development program would benefit the museum community. Specifically such a program would allow museum educators to learn about program assessment, help them effectively address the challenges they face, and assist them in demonstrating to their stakeholders the value of their K-12 educational programs. Recommendations for further research include studying a greater number of museum educators and ensuring their anonymity, using a mixed-methods approach in order to understand how widespread the uses and challenges are that were identified in this study, and examining the relationship between a museum educator and his or her professional preparation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia