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ERIC Number: EJ1016826
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
The Quest for Quality in Afterschool Science: The Development and Application of a New Tool
Papazian, Anahit Evoyan; Noam, Gil Gabriel; Shah, Ashima Mathur; Rufo-McCormick, Caitlin
Afterschool Matters, n18 p17-24 Fall 2013
Growing evidence shows that participation in out-of-school time (OST) activities positively supports youth development in general. However, simply participating in a self-identified STEM program is not sufficient. Youth will benefit more if they participate in "quality" afterschool programs. Therefore, a common understanding of quality indicators in STEM OST is vital not only for researchers and evaluators but also for afterschool program leaders and staff. However, "instruments designed specifically for observing informal settings in science are only now being designed and researched." The authors report on a new tool identified as the "Dimensions of Success" (DoS) assessment tool to help OST programs and researchers monitor and measure quality. The DoS tool allowed observers to collect systematic data along 12 quality indicators to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of afterschool science learning experiences. These data could then be used to guide technical assistance and professional development and to help programs choose and modify curricula to meet students' needs. DoS could be used to help identify the areas where professional development or coaching may be needed. It provided a common language that staff members could use as they reflect on the quality of their science activities. Observers engaged in consensus discussions in which they compared their field notes and ratings to make sure they had covered all aspects of the activities they observed and that they had left no room for misinterpretation. The practical feedback provided by certified observers could immediately be used to improve OST STEM programming.
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A