Criteria definition

Curriculum implementation

Emphasis on STEM topics:

Schools that place emphasis on STEM topics help students develop STEM literacy and STEM capability by promoting STEM learning in their curriculum planning and teaching approaches.

Interdisciplinary instruction :

Interdisciplinary instruction is a method used to teach a unit across different curricular disciplines. For example, the seventh grade Language Arts, Science and Social Studies teachers might work together to form an interdisciplinary unit on rivers.

Contextualisation of STEM teaching:

Researchers and academics Robert G. Berns and Patricia M. Erickson define contextualised learning as a practice that endeavours to link theoretical constructs that are taught during learning, to practical, real-world contexts. In the case of STEM teaching, contextualisation connects STEM concepts and principles with real-life examples which facilitate pupils' understanding and knowledge acquisition.


Access to technology and equipment:

Innovative - Technology connects students with information systems, databases and research, mentors, and social networking resources for ideas during and beyond the school day. The school’s structure and use of technology has the potential to change relationships between students, teachers and knowledge.
 -Learning is supported and enhanced with authentic, relevant use of technology.
 -Technology is integrated to promote creativity and innovation.
 -Students identify and use the tools they need to solve problems.
 -Technology is used to engage students in community, national, and global learning opportunities that extend beyond the classroom.

High quality instruction classroom materials:

Instructional guidance is focused on the organisation of the curriculum, the nature of academic demand or challenges it poses, and the tools teachers have to advance learning (such as instructional materials).


With industry:

Curricular Connections with Business and Industry - Learning experiences, during and outside of the school day, provide business and industry awareness and exploration, leading to career preparation, planning, and training. Opportunities: The school facilitates opportunities for students to be prepared to enter the workforce or college in STEM/STEAM. The school provides opportunities for applied learning in professional STEM/STEAM workplaces. Students have opportunities to learn about the pervasiveness of STEM/STEAM in society and careers.

With parents/guardians:

Parent-community ties that involve active outreach to make school a welcoming place for parents, engage them in supporting their children’s academic success, and strengthen connections to other local institutions.

With other schools and/or educational platforms:

The school favours connections with other schools and educational platforms in order to share its practices and exchange knowledge. The evidence for impact of inter-school collaboration on school improvement is more widespread. Many studies report improvements in areas such as staff professional development and career opportunities (Hill et al., 2012; West, 2010); sharing good practice and innovation (Stoll, 2015; Chapman et al., 2009; reductions and realignments in headteacher workload (alleviating burnout and facilitating succession) and organisational and financial efficiency as a consequence of inter-school collaboration (Woods et al., 2010).

With universities and/or research centres:

Research reveals that several advantages and benefits exist in maintaining university-school collaboration as both the university and the schools gain benefits from the interactions. University-school partnerships serve several purposes such as opening channels for sharing ideas and information, initiating, maintaining and upholding an open two-way communication system between the collaborating members.

With local communities:

Students have opportunities to engage in STEM/STEAM-related activities that have relevance to the community. Students and teachers partner with community members and families to take on service roles for students, classrooms, or teachers, to enhance learning experiences. Students seek and incorporate feedback on their work from a variety of authentic audiences in their community (e.g., community members who have knowledge of the problem/issue, etc.).


Personalisation of learning: 

Personalised learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimised for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are made available that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests and often self-initiated.

Problem-based learning (PBL) :

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centred pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem found in trigger material. The PBL process does not focus on problem-solving with a defined solution, but it allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes. These include knowledge acquisition, enhanced group collaboration and communication.

Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE): 

IBSE is a learning process in which questions, problems and scenarios are presented to students, including case studies, field-work, investigations or research projects, etc.

Professionalisation of staff:

Highly qualified professionals:

Teachers should be encouraged to expand their repertoire of skills, as  an essential feature of their lifelong learning journey. The requirements of individual teachers and educators might vary, according to their roles and working contexts (Smith  2005) but in any case teachers need to be supported in the process of developing and enriching their STEM skills.

Existence of supporting pedagogical staff:

School-supporting pedagogical staff play an important role in ensuring students are learning in a safe and supportive learning environment. They can foster positive, trusting relationships with students and improve school climate by encouraging parent and family involvement in education. Because students connect with supporting pedagogical staff on many occasions throughout the school day, support staff can model positive behaviour and send positive messages to students. Moreover, their specialised knowledge provides both teachers and students with the support they need in order to pursue and complete specific STEM projects.

Professional development:

In education, the term professional development is used in reference to a wide variety of specialised training, formal education, or advanced professional learning intended to help administrators, teachers, and other educators improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness.

School leadership and culture

School Leadership:

Flexible and Autonomous Leadership - School leaders are open, agile, and driven by a vision for learning. They lead by example and create an environment of high expectations, sparking a passion for learning and preparing students both academically and socially for their futures. Autonomy is not necessary for effective leadership, but is best seen as an enabler. It provides opportunities for good leaders to add additional value to the work of the school by virtue of the extra scope for exercising astute decision-making. And if autonomy is accompanied by other supporting strategies and implemented in such a way that principals feel more empowered to lead their teachers to more effective practices, then additional value can be added.

High level of cooperation among staff:

Collaboration and Communication are valued and encouraged through: community partners as peers in the learning process. teamwork, opportunities for authentic presentations. Effective communication with colleagues is vitally essential to a teacher's success. Regular collaboration and team planning sessions are extremely valuable. Engaging in these practices has a positive impact on teacher effectiveness. Having peers that teachers can collaborate with and lean on during tough times is essential.

Inclusive culture:

Inclusive Mission that supports ALL students - The school environment is open and validating for all students.
-The school provides multiple opportunities to inspire and inform students about careers and academic pathways in STEM/STEAM-related fields.
-The school supports students beyond the school day (e.g., bridge programmes, extended school day, extended school year, looping, social services, etc.)
-All students have access to age-appropriate interests (e.g., shadowing experiences for
younger students, internships for older students, etc.).Schools design and implement interventions designed to close gaps in academic and
non-academic skill areas.


Continuous assessment:

Continuous assessment is a form of educational examination that evaluates a student's progress throughout a prescribed course. It is often used as an alternative to the final examination system.

Personalised assessment:

Assessment typology framed in demonstrating whether pupils have met specific educational goals, according to their personal development