BEAT the Traffic: Program Evaluation

 A total of 32 students participated in the two camps; 72% were African American and 31% were women.  Surveys were used to evaluate the four primary objectives of the camp: (1) to increase STEM and transportation engineering interest of high school students; (2) to involve students in advanced content traffic modeling activities including the use of traffic simulation software; (3) to expose students to transportation facilities; and (4) to expose students to transportation professionals as well as Georgia Tech faculty and graduate students as STEM role models.  The results of the survey, filled out by 13 Westlake participants and 19 participants in the camp open to all interested students (defined as “everyone” in the legend) are summarized below in Table 1.

Table 1: Evaluation of Effectiveness of Summer High School Camps.


There are several points of note in the table.  The camp was very effective in increasing students’ awareness of transportation engineering (means across both camps increased from 2.05 to 3.89), helping students understand how transportation engineering research relates to the real world (mean=4.63), and helping students understand career opportunities in transportation engineering (mean=3.95).  This is also revealed in comments from the students: “The Georgia Tech camp was an excellent experience for me.  Now I have a better understanding of what civil engineering is.  Now every time I’m at a traffic light, I will think about the engineers that work every day to make this possible.”  However, overall, the course was not as effective in encouraging students to consider a career in transportation in college (mean=2.53).  A closer inspection of one of the background questions reveals that this may be due in large part that the primary reason why students attended the camp was due to the fact that “my parents signed me up”: for example, 92% of the Westlake students responding to the survey indicated this was one of the primary reasons the attended the course, while only 46% of these students stated that they attended the course because they wanted to learn about transportation engineering.