Project MAST Grades 5-8

Project MAST I, II, III, 4U and 5 at the middle school level, grades 5-8, have served successfully over 580 teachers representing teachers from 27 school districts from 2004-2013. The program focused on content mastery of “Big Ideas,” the major concepts of national and state standards. Curriculum content for each program encompassed:

Project MAST I, 2004-2005
Life Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Geology
Physics
Chemistry
Spaces Sciences
Project MAST II, 2005-2006, and Project MAST III, 2006-2007
Pre-Algebra
Algebra
Project MAST 4U, and MAST 5, 2007-2013
Environmental Sciences
Geosciences
Physics
Chemistry
Space Sciences

The modification from year to year in content emphases reflects the findings of quantitative and qualitative evaluation including teacher comment. The curricula have evolved from the inclusion of the life sciences to greater focuses on physics and chemistry especially and innovative teaching tools, technology and techniques for the classroom. Project MAST also summarized lessons learned that inform subsequent planning.

Project MAST Evaluation and Research Design

Project MAST for the middle school grades has used an evaluation system based on Quasi-experimental and Mixed-Method Research Designs.

Quasi-Experimental Design

A Quasi-experimental design has a pre-test and post-test but no real comparison group. The participating teachers served as their own control group based on pre-test/post-test data. To measure the prior content knowledge of Project MAST participants, a pre-test is administered on the first day of each course. The pre-test (items aligned to the Mississippi Science and Math Frameworks) measured the general content knowledge of the participants. To determine the impact of Project MAST on increasing the content knowledge of the participants, a post-test is administered on the last day of each course.

Mixed Method Design

A mixed-method design involves the collection and analysis of both quantitative and/or qualitative data. Mixed-method data collection activities completed by the external evaluator and management team include the following:

Observation of all sessions for each course
Classroom observations of Project MAST participants
Session evaluations
Management Team Evaluations
Participants’ interviews
Management team interviews and reflections
Part of the on-going qualitative documentation of Project MAST’s documentation includes the observation of all sessions by the external evaluator and staff members. These observations provide additional data sources to confirm implementation of the project’s goals and objectives.