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Common Instrument Suite

The Common Instrument Suite (CIS) is a self-report survey that measures a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related attitudes, including STEM engagement, STEM career knowledge, and STEM identity. It was specifically developed with informal, afterschool, outside-of-school time (OST) STEM programs in mind. The purpose of the survey is to better understand how informal STEM programming impacts students’ perceptions/ attitudes towards STEM.


Thanks to funding from the Noyce Foundation (now STEM Next Opportunity Fund), the original Common Instrument (CI) was developed in 2009 by Dr. Gil Noam (director of PEAR) and OST practitioners and educators from major organizations like Girls Inc. and 4-H. It has been administered over 130,000 times to students enrolled in informal science programs across the U.S., and it has shown strong reliability in previous work (alpha’s > 0.85).


PEAR is now working to expand the original CI survey to include other important indicators inspired by the internationally recognized Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) surveys.


  • The PISA-related items measure how knowledgeable and interested students are in obtaining science careers, how intrinsically motivated students are to be involved in science-related activities, and how much students enjoy performing and learning about science


  • The HSA assesses 21st-century skills that are highly correlated with interest and achievement in science, particularly perseverance, critical thinking, and relationships with peers and adults.

Click on the items below to learn more about the Common Instrument Suite. 
Image of the Common Instrument Suite survey components
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