PEAR, Dimensions of Success

The Dimensions of Success (DoS) framework defines twelve key components of informal, exploratory STEM programming that go beyond the school day. The Dimensions of Success (DoS) Program Planning Tool and Evaluation Tools are resource based on the DoS Framework designed by PEAR, Inc.

PEAR was historically founded in 1999 by Dr. Gil Noam while he was a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Harvard Medical School’s psychiatric teaching hospital, McLean Hospital where it was called the Program in Afterschool, Education, and Research (PAER).

The purpose of the DoS Program Planning Tool (DoS-PPT) is to provide a brief introduction to each dimension and examples to guide the use of the DoS framework when preparing STEM activity plans. Currently, the PEAR DoS and CIS tools are used in 49 states with the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance Ecosystem operating as a PEAR site able to provide trainings, resources and surveys FREE to TRSA partners.

Who can use the tools?

The DoS-Program Planning Tool can be used by:

  • Program leaders to facilitate professional development workshops about program quality and to guide staff to improve their activity plans, and/or

  • Front-line staff who want to use the framework to choose and prepare high-quality learning experiences for youth.

  • For more information about how to sign up to be a free PEAR site email info@tulsastem.org.

How PEAR Works

12 Dimensions of Success (DoS)

The 12 DoS dimensions provide a common language for quality STEM learning experiences. With such diversity in informal learning experiences, it is an important contribution to the field to offer a framework that is general enough to be used in summer camps, afterschool programs, science center program offerings, and so on, while specific enough to lead to concrete feedback and conversation about programming needs and improvement. The twelve dimensions focus on different aspects of planning, implementing and evaluating a program.

PEAR Tools and Trainings

TRSA provides multiple PEAR tools for planning and evaluating STEM programs both in and out of school.

Program Planning Tool: Helps facilitators design or modify activities and/or prepare teaching strategies to deliver high quality on all twelve dimensions from PEAR DoS.

Common Instrument Suite: A self-report survey that measures a variety of STEM-related attitudes, including STEM engagement, STEM career knowledge, and STEM identity.

DoS Observation Tool: Certified DoS Observers visit and rate the program on a 4-level rubric based on the DoS twelve dimensions of success. Observers also have follow-up conversations with facilitator about highlights and areas of growth observed.

DoS Planning Tool Example: Identifying your STEM learning goal

Before planning a STEM Activity, you must establish your STEM Learning Goal(s).

A “learning goal” often refers to a particular STEM education standard or lesson plan objective (i.e., the students will be able to…)

• is not required to be a standard

• is the purpose of the activity that will help to guide intentional teaching and learning

If you are designing your own curricula, you will need to create your own learning goal. If you are using a curriculum that provides you with a learning goal, you will still want to assess how strong it is and improve it if need be.

Strong STEM learning goals are:

  • A clear, concise sentence (or two)

  • Focused on specific STEM concepts (e.g. the ways dinosaur fossils were created) and/or practices (e.g. solving an online design challenge)

  • The right complexity for the length of the activity

Weak STEM learning goals are:

  • Vague and rambling statements

  • Focused on general, not STEM-specific, goals (e.g. youth collaboration)

  • About broad STEM topics (e.g. dinosaurs) or trivial facts (e.g. looking up the longest bridges in the world on Google)

  • Too complicated (e.g. not realistic) or simplistic (e.g. not challenging enough) for the length of the activity

For more information regarding PEAR please visit their website or contact us at info@tulsastem.org.