Network: NC Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center

Purpose: The STEM attributes tool is a checklist of characteristics that are hallmarks of programmatic quality in STEM education. The rubrics for elementary, middle and high schools are intended to be used to benchmark STEM schools or programs.

Usage: These tools have been used by numerous schools across NC and the nation to evaluate STEM programs and schools.

Impacts: The rubrics have been used to identify STEM schools of distinction across the state and guided schools’ growth in STEM education. See for a list of schools who have reached the model level and the prepared level.  NC certified STEM schools are cited as highly effective in the GW/SRI study of inclusive STEM schools

Prior research or grounding:  The characteristics are based on local, state and national research and public feedback from 125 practitioners, educators, and business leaders.  The attributes have guided the development of STEM school designations in Ohio, Tennessee, and Arizona. The rubrics have been informed by research from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, including:

Friday Institute for Educational Innovation (2013). Middle School STEM Implementation Rubric. Raleigh, NC: Author.

Friday Institute for Educational Innovation (2013). High School STEM Implementation Rubric. Raleigh, NC: Author.

Contact: Lisa Rhoades,, 919-991-5111.


The rubrics are divided by grade level


Middle School:

High School: