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Research & Evaluation

UChicago STEM Education conducts a variety of research and evaluation work that ranges from theory building to research-practice partnerships and all focus on bridging research and practice.


Outlier logo

Outlier Research & Evaluation is an outward-facing brand that represents a body of UChicago STEM Education’s research and evaluation work. Outlier challenges education stakeholders to “dare to make education better” through nimble thinking, novel approaches and a commitment to applying research knowledge to improve education immediately as well as in the future. The Outlier team is composed of scientists, teachers, methodologists, writers, artists and researchers whose diverse strengths enable them to develop innovative, robust approaches to research and evaluation projects. Outlier comfortably stands in and across the boundaries of academic, public school, museum, industry and policy settings.

Our research areas include STEM schools, computer science education, fidelity of implementation, and spread and sustainability of educational innovations. We are particularly focused on doing work to support youth from low SES environments, from groups underrepresented in STEM, and youth with learning differences. We conduct developmental, formative, and summative evaluation work with clients ranging from small, school-based interventions to large national programs. Our evaluation portfolio includes work with K-12 schools and districts, post-secondary schools, museums, after-school programs, adult professional development programs, and others.

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CANON logo

CANON Lab is an outward-facing brand that focuses on computer science education research at UChicago STEM Education. CANON Lab focuses on researching innovations in computational thinking education at the elementary and middle school levels with a primary emphasis on equity and inclusion for all underrepresented populations - underrepresented ethnic minorities, females, and students with learning differences. Our philosophy is to, like a canon, accomplish this through a blend of structure and variation to balance concrete goals with encouraging creativity.

Our interdisciplinary work thrives on partnerships, both with researchers and practitioners. Research partners include faculty in science education, technology education for students with disabilities, and reading comprehension strategies for students with learning disabilities. We work with Chicago Public Schools, the UChicago Lab School, San Francisco Unified School District, and Austin Independent School District. This leads to collaborative efforts to improve code comprehension strategies, integrated math+CS and science+CS curricula, diversity-first intermediate computer science curriculum development, and pre-K through primary school learning of CT concepts through games and picture books.

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