Dimensions of Success
Dimensions of Success (DoS) is an overarching framework that defines key aspects of a quality STEM learning experience. DoS forms the backbone of a suite of tools and guides designed to help out-of-school-time (OST) programs (e.g., afterschool programs, summer camps, etc.) improve the quality of their STEM offerings. It was developed and studied with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) by PEAR, along with partners Educational Testing Services (ETS) and Project Liftoff.
The DoS suite of tools allows researchers, practitioners, funders, and other stakeholders to track the quality of STEM learning opportunities and to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses.
The Dimensions of Success observation tool pinpoints twelve indicators of STEM program quality in out-of-school time. The DoS observation tool consists of detailed explanations of each dimension and a 4-level rubric defining a range of quality associated with the dimension. The Dimensions of Success observation tool is a validated research tool, with a validation paper published in Science Education.
Once certified, observers visit sites that are enacting STEM activities and take detailed field-notes. They then use the rubrics to assign ratings for each dimension that are backed up with evidence from the observation. Scores can then be aggregated across settings in particular geographic regions to look at trends or used for feedback and coaching at a particular site. All DoS observers must complete training and certification steps to maintain the reliable and valid use of the tool in the field.