- Materials are appropriate, complete, and effectively presented.
- Production/design quality is high.
- If applicable, materials effectively integrate learning technologies.
- The content presented is accurate.
- The product provides good and relevant references for further investigation/information.
- The product is easy to use and free from technical difficulties.
- For Web sites targeting children under 13, the site requires parent permission before collecting personal information.
- Material is relevant to NASA-unique Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Content.
- Materials emphasize effective instructional practices.
- Materials target K-12 audiences and support National Educational Standards.
- Materials provide appropriate student assessment.
- Overall Assessment
- Final Recommendation
The following are given as ranges of examples. Not all examples are expected to be addressed in every product. Do not use these suggestions as a checklist when reviewing.
- Materials are appropriate for the age, grade, and maturity of the target audience.
- Current, up-to-date information is provided.
- Instructional or explanatory materials are effective and well written; acronyms and terms are clearly explained; information is presented in a logical and organized manner; answers are provided to all specific questions asked.
- Graphs, charts, images, and animations are clearly labeled/indicated/narrated and include color keys where appropriate, information describing units of measurements that are used (e.g., what these units mean and how they compare to familiar examples), and clear distinctions between scientific data and simulated data/artist renditions.
- Material is appropriately engaging, stimulating, and/or entertaining for the target audience.
NOTE: NASA requires all products to go through a Communications Material Review (CMR) following the education product review. The CMR examines materials for their conformance to NASA visual guidelines. For this reason you are encouraged to look beyond appearance and layout issues, which will be addressed by the CMR.
Further, some products being reviewed may still be in an unfinished state so that recommendations from the education product review may be implemented along with design changes that may be required by the CMR. The product submission form may contain additional information about the planned design and format of the final product. Please consult developer notes in the product submission form.
- Design seems effective, visually stimulating, and appealing (even if in a draft state).
- Visuals/images are crisp, clear, and/or high-resolution.
- Video/audio quality is high.
- The material is free from production errors (e.g., misspellings, typos, grammatical and editorial errors).
Learning technologies may be used in the following ways:
- To make measurements and perform calculations, e.g., probeware, hand-held data collectors, computers, and calculators.
- To collect, organize, analyze, and present data, e.g., spreadsheets and graphics packages.
- To access and communicate information, e.g., telecommunications, Internet, databases, and word processing.
- To explore and/or simulate complex relationships, e.g., modeling programs.
- To develop conceptual understanding, e.g., CD-ROM, DVD and videos.
Does the product present content accurately? Consider the following:
- The material is free from content errors (e.g., scientific and mathematical inaccuracies, incorrect facts or statements, theory and fact are adequately distinguished).
- The material addresses common misconceptions.
- The metric system of weights and measures is consistently used (e.g., Celsius, grams, liters, meters) or metric equivalents are provided.
This may consist of one, high-quality, relevant Web site, or a wide range of external materials and sites as appropriate for this product type or delivery method.
For technology-based products, consider the following:
- The user interface is easy to understand.
- Instructions are easy to follow, clear and complete.
- The product is quick loading, user friendly, well organized, and structured.
- Ease of navigation: not too many levels to click through; easy to move forward, backward, and "escape" (e.g., back to the home page, to quit, etc.); and updates are easy to find.
- Documentation and any technical requirements for using the resource are specified.
- The product is free from technical difficulties (e.g., doesn't freeze, no error
messages, links to WWW sites are up-to-date).
- Where appropriate, useful online help is provided.
- Text and graphics are appropriate for the content: for example, on Web sites image files load quickly, text is legible and the background does not interfere with reading.
- Appropriate tools are provided for using the product (e.g., suggestions for the classroom, links to needed software, education standards are identified, etc.)
Web sites for children under 13 that collect personal information from children or general audience Web sites that collect personal information from children (information that would allow someone to identify or contact the child), must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). For more information, see http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm.
Personal information is individually identifiable information about a child that is collected online, such as full name, home address, email address, telephone number or any other information that would allow someone to identify or contact the child. COPPA also covers other types of information -- for example, hobbies, interests and information collected through cookies or other types of tracking mechanisms -- when they are tied to individually identifiable information.
The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their children online. Only answer these questions if the site is targeted for children under 13 years old AND collects personal information.
NASA SMD products/programs should be centered on and draw upon NASA’s unique assets in Earth or Space Sciences: content/information (acquired through NASA science and technology programs and missions); facilities and tools (including observational datasets); or people (including NASA employees and NASA-sponsored scientists, technical and engineering experts) in at least one of the areas below.
- Earth Science
- Planetary Exploration
EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE
A. Overall NASA Earth science Mission: to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural or human-induced changes and improve prediction capabilities for climate, weather, global air quality and natural hazards.
B. NASA Earth science Focus Areas and Prediction Questions
- Climate Variability & Change -- How can predictions of climate variability and change be improved?
- Atmospheric Composition -- How will future changes in atmospheric composition affect ozone, climate and air quality?
- Carbon Cycle, Ecosystems & Biogeochemistry -- How will carbon cycle dynamics and terrestrial and marine ecosystems change in the future?
- Water & Energy Cycle -- How will water and energy cycle dynamics change in the future?
- Weather Forecasting -- How can weather forecast duration and reliability be improved?
- Earth Surface & Interior -- How can our knowledge of Earth surface change be used to predict and mitigate natural hazards?
C. NASA Earth Science Applications Program Goal: Expand and accelerate the realization of economic and societal benefit.
A. Heliophysics Overall Mission: Understanding the changing Sun and its effects on the Solar System, Life and Society
B. Heliophysics Fundamental Quests:
- Why Does the Sun Vary? What are the origins of solar variability? What are the effects of the solar activity on the corona and solar wind (i.e., the entire heliosphere)?
- How do the Planets Respond to Solar Variations? For example, four basic questions about the Earth cut across heliophysics scientific endeavors: How do mass and energy enter geospace? How are mass, momentum, and energy transported within magnetospheres and upper atmospheres? How is electromagnetic energy converted into charged-particle kinetic and thermal energy? What are the sinks for mass and energy?
- How Do the Sun and Galaxy Interact? What is the nature of boundary regions separating the heliosphere from the local interstellar medium? What are the properties of the interstellar medium?
- How Does Solar Variability Affect Life and Society? What are the impacts of space weather? How can space weather hazards be predicted? How does the changing Sun affect planetary climates? How have (living) conditions evolved in the Solar System as a result of evolution of the Sun?
C. Heliophysics Missions and/or Campaigns: The material provides information on heliophysics missions and/or campaigns.
A. Planetary Science Fundamental Quests and Goals:
Understand the Formation and Evolution of the Solar System and Earth Within It
- Inventory and characterize the remnants of the original material from which the Solar System formed.
- Learn why the planets in our Solar System are so different from each other
- Learn how the Solar System evolves.
Probe the Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth and Determine if Life exists elsewhere in the Solar System.
- Investigate the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and explore the limits of life in terrestrial environments that might provide analogues for conditions on other worlds.
- Determine the general principles governing the organization of matter into living systems and the conditions required for the emergence and maintenance of life.
- Chart the distribution of life-sustaining environments within our Solar System, and search for evidence of past and present life.
- Identify plausible signatures of life on other worlds.
B. Our Destiny in the Solar System: Understand forces and processes, such as impacts, that affect habitability of Earth.
- Develop the capability to predict space weather.
- Find extraterrestrial resources and assess the suitability of Solar System locales for future human exploration
C. Planetary Science Missions and/or Campaigns: The material provides information on NASA planetary science missions and/or campaigns.
A. Astrophysics Defining Questions: Where Do We Come From? Are We Alone?
B. Astrophysics Goals:
To understand how galaxies formed in the early universe.
- Gravity's Role in Galaxy Formation.
- How Galaxies Produce Chemicals for Stars, Planets, and Living Organisms.
To understand how stars and planetary systems form and evolve.
- Discover planetary systems forming around young stars, and characterize their properties.
- Characterize the planets and planetary systems around other stars.
To determine whether habitable or life-bearing planets exist around nearby stars
- Determine what makes a planet habitable and determine how common habitable worlds are in the Universe.
- Establish how to recognize the signatures of life on other worlds.
To understand how life forms and evolves
- Determine the general principles governing the organization of matter into living systems.
- Determine both the early evolution of life and its limits in environments that might provide analogues for conditions on other worlds.
C. Astrophysics Fundamental Quests:
- What are the cycles of matter and energy in the evolving Universe?
- How did structure in the Universe form?
- What are the ultimate limits of gravity and energy in the Universe?
D. Astrophysics Missions and/or Campaigns: The material provides information on Astrophysics Program missions and/or campaigns. Research Campaigns include efforts to:
- Identify dark matter and learn how it shapes galaxies and systems of galaxies.
- Explore where and when the chemical elements were made.
- Understand the cycles in which matter, energy, and magnetic field are exchanged between stars and the gas between stars.
- Discover how gas flows in disks and how cosmic jets are formed.
- Identify the sources of gamma-ray bursts and high-energy cosmic rays.
- Measure how gravity operates in extreme conditions - near black holes and in the early Universe.
E. Additional Missions and/or Campaigns: The material provides information on Origins Program missions and/or campaigns.
- Observable events, problem-centered tasks, and concrete experiences introduce key concepts of science.
- Students are encouraged to explore ideas and events, to construct relationships and patterns, and to make and test hypotheses.
- Learning activities offer opportunities for students to revise or dispel prior knowledge, to build on existing knowledge and to create or construct new knowledge.
- Opportunities are provided for students to apply concepts. Materials provide opportunities for interactive student participation (e.g., hands-on experiences, small group activities, communicating and sharing information, safe use of materials and equipment is promoted).
- Product is designed to foster outcome based learning goals.
- The material targets K-12 audiences and provides content that is well aligned to national education standards in science, geography, mathematics, or technology. Other standards are identified as appropriate (e.g., English language arts – reading, writing, and speaking)
- The material identifies specific national education standards that are supported.
- Content matches the standards and specific outcomes that are identified.
- In general, it is expected that NASA education materials will support national standards; in some cases it may be appropriate to identify relevant state standards, either in addition to or in place of national standards.
National Education Standards
Science -- National Research Council’s (NRC) National Science Education Standards or the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Geography -- National Council for Geographic Education’s (NCGE) National Geography Standards)
Mathematics -- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
Technology -- International Technology Education Association’s (ITEA) Standards For Technological Literacy or the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards
Materials include assessments that are appropriate for the type of product and/or audience. For example, these might include:
- Specific assessment suggestions and scoring criteria are provided for student products and collections of work such as portfolios, computer simulations, video or multimedia productions, oral presentations and written work, student exhibitions, surveys or collections of data, etc.
- Specific assessment suggestions and scoring criteria are provided for student performances such as rubrics, open-ended questions, concept maps, independent and group research, interviews, laboratory practices, observation checklists, self and peer evaluations, etc.
- Options include traditional assessment items such as multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blanks, true-false, short answer, essay, etc.
- Techniques for assessing students’ prior knowledge are included.
- Options include assessment items that require students to apply concepts.
- Options include assessment items that require students to analyze information and/or to synthesize information from diverse sources.
- Options include assessment items that require students to evaluate situations and make judgments or recommendations.
- Assessment items are correlated with learning objectives.
Assess the materials overall. Provide additional feedback on anything (good or bad) that was not addressed in the above criteria.
Recommended: The product is an excellent candidate for broad distribution or availability, for example, at education conferences, on a Web site, etc.
Recommeneded as is, with revisions on next printing/edition: Note to reviewers: the material may not be re-printed/revised. Do not select this option if you believe the revisions are necessary before continued distribution/availability by NASA. (Provide notes on recommended revisions.)
Recommended--Distribution through Teacher Workshops: The product is recommended for distribution through NASA teacher training sessions and workshops. Most teachers would require some introduction or training for effective use.
Recommended--Limited Audience: This product would be useful to limited audience. For example, very advanced users, lower/higher education level than originally identified, a limited topic area/course, a limited geographic area, etc. (Provide notes describing the audience.)
Needs Minor Revisions: The overall approach is very good, but minor revisions are needed before the product is distributed or recommended by NASA. "Minor" is not meant to indicate the revisions are not important, but that they can be made easily. The material is generally free of scientific errors/misconceptions or obvious pedagogical problems; if there are errors they can be easily corrected. These products are not required to go back through the panel review process once they have been revised.
Examples of minor revisions include:
- Few text edits/minor text additions (e.g., grammatical errors, misspellings and typos).
- Minor corrections to images or graphics.
- Minor re-organizing of the material.
- Online products: a few broken links on a Web site (it is "minor" due to ease of correcting).
- Physical products: broken Web links, which are not critical to implementation (e.g., links for further reading/information).
Needs Medium Revisions: The overall approach is sound, but revisions are required before this product is distributed or recommended by NASA. Depending on the extent of revisions to be made, NASA education program managers may require these products to go back through the panel review process after they have been revised.
Examples of medium revisions include:
- Large number of text edits/additions throughout the material (e.g., grammatical erros, misspellings and typos).
- Corrections to more than a few images or graphics.
- Sections that suffer from organizational or presentational difficulties.
- Online products: numerous broken links on a Web site.
- Physical products: several broken Web links, which are not critical to implementation (e.g., links for further reading/information).
- Few scientific errors/misconceptions (perhaps limited to a single section, chapter, unit or lesson).
- Isolated sections, chapters, units of lessons that contain obvious pedagogical problems.
Needs Major Revisions: The product has potential, but major revisions are required to the overall approach before it is distributed or recommended by NASA. Products that are recommended for "major revisions" are required to go back through the panel review process after they have been revised.
Examples of major revisions include:
- Numerous or major scientific errors/misconceptions.
- Serious problems with the overall approach to the subject, organization, structure or presentation that renders it ineffective or difficult to use.
- Pedagogical appraoch needs significant work for the intended audience (e.g., reading level, cognitive appraoch, scope/sequence, etc).
- Broken links in a printed document, which are critical to the implementation of the product.
Not Recommended: NASA should take this product out of circulation/not release it as a Science Mission Directorate science education product. The quality is poor, the maerial is dated, or it is not relevant to NASA's Science Mission Directorate.