The Season 4 evaluation had a strong impact on ZOOM's Season 5 efforts. During Season 4, ZOOM's independent evaluator, Goodman Research Group, Inc. (GRG), evaluated the ZOOMsci: Explore Science at Home guide, looking to identify factors that motivate parents and children to conduct ZOOM activities together in their homes. Surveys were designed to create a profile of parental involvement with children's ZOOM and non-ZOOM science activities.
During the course of the evaluation, GRG discovered the following:
- Because the child is the primary correspondent with ZOOM (i.e., has made a submission to ZOOM), parents didn't always realize the ZOOMsci Guide was for them.
- Parents weren't sure why they should read the guide or do the activities with their children.
- Parents weren't expecting the guide and therefore didn't necessarily use it.
- Even with these challenges, ZOOM disseminated its full supply of 30,000 copies by the end of Season 4. At the start of Season 5, ZOOM secured additional funding and was able to revise the guide to address the first two concerns. Through a burst on the front cover which stated, "Parents! Learn how you and your kids can explore science together," and additional language changes throughout the guide, we were able to clarify the target audience and the benefits of doing science together. After reprinting 7,500 copies, we also evaluated our distribution plan and worked with our national partners to get these guides into the hands of parents who were interested but unsure about how to do science with their kids.