Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 248–255 | Cite as

After-School and Informal STEM Projects: the Effect of Participant Self-Selection

  • David B. VallettEmail author
  • Richard Lamb
  • Leonard Annetta


This research represents an unforeseen outcome of the authors’ National Science Foundation Innovation Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program grant in science education. The grant itself focused on the use of serious educational games (SEGs) in the science classroom, both during and after school, to teach science content and affect student perceptions of science and technology. This study consists of a Bayesian artificial neural network analysis, using the preintervention measures of affect, interest, personality, and cognitive ability, in members of both the treatment and comparison groups to generate the probabilities that students would opt into the treatment group or choose not to participate. It appears, from this sample and the sampling methods of other related studies within the field, that despite sometimes profound results from technology interventions in science, interventions are affecting only those who already have a strong interest in STEM due to the manner in which participants are recruited.


Equity Experimental design Serious educational games Informal science 


Funding Information

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1114499.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and LearningUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.State University of New YorkUniversity at BuffaloNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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