Capstone Proposal Guidelines
Science and Math for Teachers Graduate Program
The capstone project is meant to provide each SMFT graduate student with experience identifying a critical need (pedagogical, curricular) or research question in science and math education, and formally proposing a project plan for addressing this need/question. The process of formally proposing a project will help you successfully plan and implement your project and will be very much akin to that which you will experience in your professional life as leaders in science and math education within your community, school system, school district, state and/or region.
Prior to formally writing the capstone proposal, each student must select a project advisor who will guide the student through writing the capstone proposal and carrying out the project. If the capstone is a project added to an SMFT course then the advisor should be the instructor of that course. If the capstone is an independent project then the advisor can be any member of the SMFT Graduate Faculty. All students will take SMFT 690: Capstone Project Development. The students will pass CITI training for working with human subjects, learn about the IRB process, and write their proposal. Once the proposal is written it must be approved by the director of the SMFT Program and by one member of the SMFT Graduate Faculty other than the project director. If the project involves any work with students, then the project must also be approved by the appropriate supervisor at the host institution.
Students must plan their capstone project the semester before they carry out the work. They should submit the proposal to the program director early enough to allow time for revisions, which are frequently required.
The formal project proposal should contain the following sections:
Cover page , which includes a descriptive project title, the author's name, and contact information, and a place for the signature/date of approval of the proposal by the project advisor, the program director, other SMFT faculty member and host institution supervisor.
Abstract – This is a concise statement (500 words) that summarizes the goals and objectives for the project, the projects intellectual merit, the population affected by the project and the anticipated outcomes. This brief summary of the entire proposal is placed first but should be written last. There should not be any information in the abstract that is not included in the main body of the proposal. It is only a summary.
Introduction – In this section the student should address the intellectual merit of the project. This discussion should include:
- Briefly, what is your project.
- The aspect/problem/issue in science and/or math education that is the focus of the project, and what is the need for reform or change or research.
- How can your project make a difference?
- The community (public, families, teachers and/ or students) impacted by the project, and if applicable, the need for research/change/reform among this population.
- Again, how might your project make a difference?
- The evidence that reform/change or research into the proposed area of science and math education is needed. This part of the introduction should provide a brief (1-2 page) review of the pertinent literature.
Project Goals and Objectives – In this section of the capstone proposal the student should explain exactly what they plan to do and how they plan to do it. The section should include:
- The overarching goals for the project
- The incremental objectives that will be met along the way to achieve these goals.
- A description of the project plan and how the project goals and objectives will be met. In other words, tell as specifically as you can what you plan to do. Be as detailed as possible at this point. If you have to make changes as you are doing the project, that is OK, but you should show that you have thought about the details of what you intend to do.
- A project timetable for completion of each aspect (incremental objective) of the project.
- How the project relates to, and/or goes beyond or enhances/extends the South Carolina or National Science and Math Education Standards.
- What will be the anticipated product (curriculum, teaching resources, research, etc.) of your capstone project?
- How will you know if the product has met your capstone project's goals?
- How will your product or research findings be disseminated to the community of science and math education professionals impacted by your project?
- A literature cited section must be included. All literature should be cited using APA style formatting and should include parenthetical citations.
All capstone proposals must be completed by the add/drop date of the semester in which the capstone project is to be completed. This may require some planning prior to the semester of capstone enrollment.
All capstone proposals must be signed by the project advisor prior to being submitted for final approval by the SMFT program director.
Students must submit a completed signature page for project. A PDF version of the signature page is available to save to your computer or print out.