Dayton Regional STEM Center and STEM Education Quality Framework

Dayton Regional STEM Center (DRSC)

Founded in 2008, the DRSC received initial funding from the National Governor’s Association.  Created as a proof of concept site, the DRSC is housed at the Montgomery County Educational Service Center in Dayton, Ohio.  Since its inception, the Center has developed robust and ongoing partnerships with a variety of regional STEM stakeholders including business and industry, higher education, and government partners.  The DRSC supports PK-12 STEM education both regionally and nationally by training and supporting educators, designing, piloting and disseminating curriculum aligned to state and common core standards and workforce needs, training school leaders at the district and building levels and supporting schools and program models committed to STEM teaching and learning. 

A signature service of the DRSC is the STEM Fellow program.  This program brings practicing STEM professionals, PK-12 teachers and university faculty to work together in teams in a well-structured environment to support STEM education through the development of curriculum aligned to the academic content standards.   Furthermore, this experience provides rich professional development to the participants.  Most importantly, the program fosters a close knit and diverse community of STEM advocates in the greater Dayton region.  The STEM Fellow program starts in the late summer with a weeklong intensive training session that includes industry tours as well as training related to curriculum design and pedagogy.  During the year, the Fellows participate in brainstorming sessions, a five-step process for curriculum development that includes midterm editing and assessment, curriculum piloting and editing and web-based publication of the curriculum.  Additionally, the Fellows engage in a variety of community outreach efforts that help to inform the public about the STEM education initiatives and opportunities. For more information, visit  

STEM Education Quality Framework (SQF)

One of the first challenges facing the DRSC was to adopt a shared vision of STEM Education that could help stakeholders begin to have serious conversations about the goals and objectives of STEM education, particularly at the PK-12 level. In an effort to articulate this vision, the DRSC worked with the University of Dayton Department of Teacher Education to develop the SQF. The SQF is comprised of ten quality components articulated in a rubric format across four performance levels. The quality components were developed over a three-year period of research and development that included an extensive review of the literature and a Delphi Method validation study involving twenty STEM education experts, including leaders from national organizations dedicated to improving STEM education, higher education professors from STEM departments, STEM industry representatives, and classrooms teachers. The complete SQF including performance rubrics for all ten quality components can be found at the DRSC website at

Components & Quality Standards: 

Potential for Engaging Students of Diverse Academic Backgrounds
Learning experiences are designed to engage the minds and imaginations of students of diverse academic backgrounds.

Degree of STEM Integration
Learning experiences are carefully designed to help students integrate knowledge and skills from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Connections to Non-STEM Disciplines
Learning experiences help students connect STEM knowledge and skills with academic standards from other disciplines.

Integrity of the Academic Content
Learning experiences are content-accurate, anchored to the relevant content standards, and focused on the big ideas and foundational skills critical to future learning in the targeted disciplines.

Quality of the Cognitive Task
Learning experiences challenge students to develop higher order thinking skills through processes such as inquiry, problem-solving, and creative thinking.

Connections to STEM Careers
Learning experiences place students in learning environments that help them to better understand and personally consider STEM careers.

Individual Accountability in a Collaborative Culture
Learning experiences often require students to work and learn independently and in collaboration with others using effective interpersonal skills.

Nature of Assessments
Learning experiences require students to demonstrate knowledge and skill, in part, through performance-based tasks.

Application of the Engineering Design
Learning experiences require students to demonstrate knowledge and skills fundamental to the engineering design process (e.g., brainstorming, researching, creating, testing, improving, etc.

Quality of Technology Integration
Learning experiences provide students with hands-on experience in using multiple technologies. (Examples: computer hardware and software, calculators, probes, scales, microscopes, rulers and hand lenses to name just a few).


School of Engineering

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0254