Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

The New York Academy of Sciences Announces New STEM Education Certification Program

New framework for STEM education materials focuses on development of 21st-century workforce skills

Published December 08, 2016

New York, December 8th, 2016 — A new framework for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that promotes 21st-century skills development was announced by the New York Academy of Sciences today.

The Global STEM Alliance (GSA) STEM Education Framework is based on the latest learning science and education research. It was developed by the New York Academy of Sciences, a 200-year-old institution dedicated to advancing scientific research, education, and policy, and SRI Education, a division of SRI International and an established leader in STEM education research, instructional design, implementation, and evaluation.

Countless organizations are developing STEM content, resources, and instructional programs for the education sector. Yet little objective information exists to help decision makers identify high-quality materials. The GSA STEM Certification Program addresses this need by certifying materials that align to the GSA STEM Education Framework. Any curriculum, set of instructional materials, educational program, or product intended for formal or informal STEM learning may be reviewed, including instructional software, online courses, educational games, apps, and professional development resources.

The GSA STEM Education Framework is a freely available resource to be used by anyone engaged in STEM education—curriculum developers, content providers, teachers, students, parents, school leaders, policymakers, and philanthropists—to ensure that their efforts align to sound pedagogy and best practices. It outlines 26 features of quality STEM education in three fundamental areas:

  • Core Competencies: To what extent are students provided with opportunities to develop 21st-century skills needed to thrive in the modern workplace?
  • Instructional Design: To what extent do the materials and/or program design reflect research-based pedagogy and a cohesive system of learning objectives, supports, and assessment resources?
  • Implementation: To what extent are necessary supports or services available to facilitate distribution and ensure effective implementation?

"In today's global, technology-driven economy, students need a sound basis in STEM education to develop important critical thinking skills," said Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences. "But just as important is the development of so-called soft skills—the ability to communicate clearly, creativity, persistence, and the ability to collaborate. This certification program is intended to ensure that instructional materials address the development of these skills as much as the academic side of learning."

Early Adopters

Two of the first organizations to have instructional resources attain certification through this rigorous process are Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, and Robomatter, Inc., which provides high-quality, cost-effective K-12 STEM education solutions to schools around the world.

Among the Discovery Education resources certified through the GSA STEM Certification Program is the company's middle school Science Techbook. Utilizing an inquiry-based format built on the 5E model, the award-winning Science Techbook engages students in STEM-driven lessons that help them learn to read, write, and think like scientists. Science Techbook includes hundreds of hands-on labs, digital explorations, and data analysis activities, as well as digital tools such as an interactive glossary that helps support the success of all learners. Discovery Education's STEMFormation, STEM Leader Corps, and STEM Foundations professional development initiatives have also earned GSA Certification. "Discovery Education is honored by this recognition and looks forward to continuing to support educators worldwide as they build the classrooms and culture today's students need to prepare for the STEM careers of the future," said Discovery Education Chief Academic Officer and Vice President, Curriculum & Instruction, Marty Creel.

Robomatter's IDEAS computer science curriculum allows students to synthesize their natural curiosity and interests with the tools of computer science. Instead of just working with paper and pencil, students are given opportunities to iterate and design creative solutions to problems using digital tools. Students also learn how to engage one another as they work collaboratively to apply their ideas and solve problems with computational thinking. "There is a broad consensus around the need to bring STEM literacy and computational thinking concepts and practices to all students. As a result, there is a pronounced need for the GSA STEM Education Framework for schools and educational decision-makers. Robomatter is very proud to have earned this certification based on the framework," said Jason McKenna, Director of Educational Strategy at Robomatter.

All reviews are performed by a panel of academic experts with deep knowledge related to the subject matter, grade level, and intended audience of the materials under review. Materials that align to the framework receive official certification from the New York Academy of Sciences' Global STEM Alliance, an initiative designed to advance STEM education worldwide.

To download the framework and learn more about certification, click here.

About the Global STEM Alliance

The Global STEM Alliance is an initiative of the New York Academy of Sciences dedicated to preparing the next generation of STEM innovators for 21st-century careers. With more than 200 partners in 50 countries and regions around the world—including governments, corporations, educational institutions, and nongovernmental organizations—the GSA works to improve access to quality STEM instruction, and to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM careers.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that, since 1817, has been driving innovative solutions to society's challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at and follow us on Twitter @NYASciences.

About SRI Education

SRI Education, a division of SRI International, is tackling the most complex issues in education to help students succeed. We work with federal and state agencies, school districts, major foundations, nonprofit organizations, and international and commercial clients to address risk factors that impede learning, assess learning gains, and use technology for educational innovation. SRI International, a research center headquartered in Menlo Park, California, creates world-changing solutions making people safer, healthier, and more productive.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education's services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at

About Robomatter

Robomatter Inc. is a technology and engineering curriculum solutions provider focused on bringing STEM experiences to students by leveraging the motivational effects of computer science and robotics. Robomatter's solutions include research-backed curricula, interactive technology tools, STEM teacher professional development programs, and certification programs through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy. Today, over 1.5 million students leverage Robomatter solutions every day across 40 countries worldwide, making a significant impact on bringing STEM education to students from all backgrounds.


Marie Gentile
Director, Communications