ExMASS: Implementation and evaluation of an authentic, inquiry-based research experience for secondary students





secondary students, authentic research, inquiry-based research, attitudes toward science


The Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS) program provides pre-college students the opportunity to conduct authentic, inquiry-based research with assistance from their teacher and a professional scientist. This paper presents an overview of the ExMASS program and results of ongoing program evaluation. The goals of the ExMASS program are to 1) provide an opportunity for secondary students to engage in multiple practices of science, 2) foster positive student attitudes toward science, and 3) enhance student lunar and asteroid science content knowledge. Evaluation data affirms the program is meeting these stated goals. In particular, assessment of student attitudes toward science show statistically significant increases in positive attitudes post program. The validity of the survey has been shown previously through factor analysis (Shaner et al., 2018). This paper includes a discussion of the continued assessment of student attitudes toward science (n = 125 students), showing statistically significant changes in both personal connections to science and the importance of science in society.

Author Biography

Andrew Shaner, Lunar and Planetary Institute, USRA

Science Engagement Department, Senior Education Specialist






Astronomy Education and Practice