During the course of this five-year project, detailed monitoring and evaluation will be undertaken to determine what works and why in Indigenous STEM education.

A detailed monitoring and evaluation component is included in the project to provide early reporting on the achievement of milestones that measure the pathway to impact, allowing for modifications to the program if required.

The proposed theory of change for the project is shown below. A theory of change is a specific and measurable description of a social change initiative. It defines all the aspects, both internal and assumptions of external contributions that are required to bring about a given long term goal – in this instance an overarching goal 'to provide supported pathways that improve the participation and achievement of Indigenous students in STEM subjects' and aspirational goal to 'increase Indigenous representation in STEM-related professions'.

The Indigenous STEM example of a theory of change diagram outlines the following:

  • aspirational goal - Increase Indigenous representation in STEM-related professions
  • other factors - Availability of STEM jobs; global and local economy; political environment
  • overarching goal - To provide supported pathways that improve the participation and achievement of Indigenous students in STEM subjects
  • outcomes - Improved teacher, teacher assistant and student capacity in science and mathematics; ; Increased number and improved achievement of students studying science and mathematics at school and university; Indigenous students recognised and rewarded for high achievement in STEM
  • outputs - School and cluster work plans, residential summer schools, leadership and cadetship program, awards program and ceremony, university curriculum and support program
  • target audience [students] - Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Junior Secondary, Senior Secondary, Tertiary
  • flow chart of components [inputs] -
    • SCIENCE PATHWAYS FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES 
       Target: Primary and middle school students in remote Indigenous communities 
       Method: On-country projects as the context for learning western science linked to language and traditional ecological knowledge
    • INQUIRY FOR INDIGENOUS SCIENCE STUDENTS
      Target: Primary and middle school students in mainstream metropolitan and regional schools 
      Method: Hands-on, inquiry-based projects using contexts relevant to Indigenous students
    • COUNTING FUTURES 
      Target: Primary and middle school students in mainstream metropolitan and regional schools 
      Method: Authentic, school-developed approaches that change the culture of the teaching and learning of mathematics for Indigenous students
    • ABORIGINAL SUMMER SCHOOL FOR EXCELLENCE IN TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE 
      Target: High-achieving Year 10 students 
      Method: Cultural and academic residential camp followed by a leadership mentoring program through Years 11 and 12
    • EXCELLENCE AWARDS 
      Target: Primary and secondary school students 
      Method: High profile awards program rewarding excellence in STEM achievement
    • BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (EXTENDED) 
      Target: Indigenous students who show potential, but who might otherwise not have access to a BSc 
      Method: Extend the BSc by an extra year to provide academic skill development focussing on science and mathematics, and including explicit support for students 
  • partners - CSIRO, BHPB, partners, teachers, students

A sustainability plan, based on evidence gathered during monitoring and evaluation, will be developed to outline and pursue explicit options for the future.

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