STEM Publications

The facts are clear: STEM and afterschool are a natural fit.

Afterschool Alliance Publications

Computing and Engineering in Afterschool (December 2013)

The number of jobs requiring proficiency in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is projected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is almost double the growth of non-STEM occupations. Computing and engineering represent a majority of these STEM jobs, and it is important that students are prepared to take advantage of these opportunities. Afterschool programs represent an avenue to provide robust learning experiences in computing and engineering, especially as schools are under many constraints and pressures that might prevent them from offering these topics. This issue brief provides background on some of the challenges within K-12 education and highlights several afterschool programs that are doing an exemplary job of engaging kids in computing and engineering.

Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions (November 2013)

Afterschool programs have long partnered with other youth-serving and community organizations to better meet the needs of their students. As interest and momentum grows around STEM programming in afterschool , partnerships become increasingly important in offering high-quality, hands-on STEM experiences for youth. This issue brief demonstrates several models of how afterschool programs are partnering with STEM-rich institutions like science centers and museums, universities and colleges, business and industry, and government agencies. The brief highlights the strengths of each type of STEM-rich partner and describes the potential contributions to afterschool programs.

Defining Youth Outcomes for STEM Learning in Afterschool (January 2013)

This report presents the results of a study to obtain consensus from afterschool experts on appropriate and feasible youth outcomes for STEM learning in afterschool. It presents a compelling set of developmental outcomes, indicators of progress toward these outcomes, and types of evidence that could be collected to demonstrate the impact of STEM programming in afterschool.

STEM Advocacy Toolkit (December 2012)

Our advocacy toolkit, "Making the Case for STEM Afterschool," is a living Web document. This is a pdf of the current version. It walks you through the steps to develop a strong case you can effectively present to any audience. The advocacy toolkit helps you tailor your message, identify data and talking points that support your case, learn about existing policy recommendations that help craft your ask, and see who you can enlist as an ally in your advocacy efforts.

Know Your Funders: A Guide to STEM Funding for Afterschool (November 2012)

This guide serves as a tool for afterschool program leaders to navigate various funding streams and consider effective strategies to acquire funding for afterschool STEM programs. It describes the different types of funding available for STEM education in afterschool and provides tips on how to write successful proposals.

Afterschool Programs as Partners in STEM Education: Policy Recommendations (October 2012)

Afterschool programs all around the nation are engaging children in hands-on STEM programs and getting them excited about STEM fields and careers. These policy recommendations aim to help afterschool programs reach their maximum potential and become integral partners in addressing the nations STEM education needs.

STEM Learning in Afterschool: An Analysis of Impact and Outcomes (September 2011)

This report presents an analysis of evaluation data from afterschool STEM programs around the country. A review of the evaluation reports shows that high-quality STEM afterschool programs yields STEM-specific benefits such as improved attitudes towards STEM fields and careers, increased STEM knowledge and skills, and higher likelihood of graduation and pursuing a STEM career. The report demonstrates that afterschool programs are playing a key role in engaging children and youth from diverse communities in STEM fields and careers.

Afterschool: A Vital Partner in STEM Education (May 2011)

This paper provides compelling reasons to include afterschool programs as integral partners in STEM education and highlights several existing models for providing infrastructure and building capacity to enable afterschool programs to facilitate high-quality STEM learning. By combining evaluation reports from afterschool programs with research findings that indicate an early interest in STEM careers is related to a pursuit of such careers, the paper presents a picture of how afterschool programs are contributing meaningfully to our nation's STEM education system.

Afterschool and Summer Programs: Committed Partners in STEM Education (October 2011)

With generous support from the Noyce Foundation, three of the nation's leading afterschool and summer learning organizations are joining forces in a collaborative effort to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning during the out-of-school hours.

Afterschool: Middle School and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) (September 2010)

The 21st century's information economy is creating more jobs that require not only a college education but also at least some expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as STEM. In order to stay competitive in the global marketplace and provide our children with the best chance to succeed in life, we must get more students on the STEM path. Combining STEM learning with afterschool programming offers middle school students a fun, challenging, hands-on introduction to the skills they will need in high school, college and the work place. This MetLife Issue Brief highlights afterschool programs that incorporate STEM activities, giving students time to develop an interest in science and inspiring them to learn.

Afterschool programs: At the STEM of learning (January 2008)

In order to better compete with their international peers in the 21st century, American students will need to be better prepared to work in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. This brief explains the ways in which afterschool can engage kids in these fields, collectively known as STEM.

External Publications

  • Informal Science Learning and Education: Definition and Goals

    This paper relates informal science education to afterschool learning environments, comparing the goals of each space, and makes the case for an articulated set of outcomes for afterschool STEM learning.

    Krishnamurthi, A., & Rennie, L. J. (2012). Informal Science Learning and Education: Definition and Goals. Unpublished manuscript. Board on Science Education, The National Academies

  • STEM Learning in Afterschool and Summer Programming: An Essential Strategy for STEM Education Reform

    This is an excerpt from a new book, compiling research and best practices that demonstrate the positive impacts of afterschool and summer learning.  It provides a brief summary of some of the current trends in afterschool STEM programming and recommendations for how afterschool can become an essential partner in STEM education.

    Krishnamurthi, A., Ottinger, R., & Topol, T. (2013). STEM learning in afterschool and summer programming: An essential strategy for STEM education reform. In T. K. Peterson (Ed.), Expanding minds and opportunities: Leveraging the power of afterschool and summer learning for student success (pp. 133-139). Washington, D.C.: Collaborative Communications Group.

  • STEM Learning in Afterschool: Ready to Soar

    This article appeared originally in Dimensions magazine. Reposted with permission from the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Incorporated,

    Krishnamurthi, A., & Sankar, R. (2012, July/August). STEM learning in afterschool: Ready to soar. Dimensions, 38-43.

  • Informal Science Learning and Education: Definition and Goals

    This paper relates informal science education to afterschool learning environments, comparing the goals of each space, and makes the case for an articulated set of outcomes for afterschool STEM learning.

    Krishnamurthi, A., & Rennie, L. J. (2012). Informal Science Learning and Education: Definition and Goals. Unpublished manuscript. Board on Science Education, The National Academies. Retrieved from

  • Planning Early for Careers in Science

    This research study looked at data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 database which had collected data from eight graders which they tracked and surveyed every two years from 1988 to 2000. Researchers looked at the questions which addressed students career goals by the time they were 30. The results showed that those who saw themselves as working in science fields were more likely to attain the goal than those who did not say their interest was in science.

    Tai, R. H., Liu, C.Q., Maltese, A.V., & Fan, X. (2006). Planning early for careers in science. Science, 312(5777), 1143-1144.

  • Accomplishment in STEM and Its Relation to STEM Educational Dose

    This study examined the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth database which tracked mathematically talented students over a span of 25 years and looked at their STEM accomplishments over that period of time. The study found that individuals that consistently participated in STEM activities had a higher incidence of "STEM Success."

    Wai, J., Lubinski, D., Benbow, C.P., & Steiger, J.H. (2010). Accomplishment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and its relation to STEM educational dose. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(4), 860-871.

  • Summit on Assessment of Informal and Afterschool Science Learning

    This webpage contains the commissioned papers from a national summit held in June 2012 by the Board on Science Education, a standing board at The National Academies, in cooperation with the Harvard Program in Education.  Experts in assessment, measurement and evaluation; development and delivery of informal and afterschool science learning; and representatives from funding organizations developed potential solutions to issues and challenges in assessment of informal and afterschool science learning.

Additional External Publication Links