Collaborative Research: Design and Development of a K-12 STEM Observation Protocol

This late phase Design and Development project focuses on the Teaching strand through the design and development of a K-12 classroom observation protocol for integrated STEM instruction (STEM-OP). Specifically, the STEM-OP will be developed for use in K-12 science and/or engineering settings. While the importance of integrated STEM education is established through national policy documents, there remains disagreement on models and effective approaches for integrated STEM instruction. This issue is confounded by the lack of observation protocols sensitive to integrated STEM teaching and learning to inform research to the effectiveness of new models and strategies. Existing instruments most commonly used by researchers, such as the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP), were designed prior to the development of the NGSS for use in reform-based science classrooms, not integrated STEM learning environments.

In order to facilitate the implementation of integrated STEM in K-12 classrooms and the development of the nascent integrated STEM education literature, the work proposed here intends to design and develop a new integrated STEM observation protocol for use in K-12 science and engineering classrooms. Specifically, this project proposes to use over 500 integrated STEM classroom videos to design an observation protocol. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, the STEMOP will be a valid and reliable instrument for use in a variety of educational contexts. The STEM-OP and associated training materials will be available for use by other education stakeholders, such as K-12 teachers and district administrators, through a publicly available online platform.

  • Focus: K12 students and teachers
  • Funder: National Science Foundation
  • Team: Emily Dare (Principal Investigator), Joshua Ellis (Co-PI), Mark D. Rouleau (Co-PI, Michigan Technological University)
  • Award Number: #1854801
  • Amount: $670,470
  • Contact: Emily Dare (