Common Instrument Suite-Student (CIS-S) Survey

The PEAR Institute’s Common Instrument Suite Student (CIS-S) survey is a youth self-report survey that measures a variety of STEM-related attitudes, including STEM engagement, STEM career knowledge, and STEM identity. The CIS-S has been administered over 130,000 times to youth enrolled in informal/OST STEM programs, as well as in schools across 47 U.S. states, and across eight countries in Asia, South America, and Europe. It was developed with informal, out-of-school time (OST) programs in mind but can be administered in schools as the concepts are equally applicable. The purpose of the survey is to better understand how informal STEM programming impacts students’ perceptions/attitudes towards STEM. Four standard survey offerings are available based on outcomes of interest and age ranges. The CIS-S is available in three administration formats: • Traditional Pre-Post: This method asks students to complete the survey twice: 1x at the beginning of the program and 1x at the end of the program. Change is measured by subtracting pretest scores from posttest scores. • Retrospective Pre-Post: This method is similar to the traditional pre-post, but students answer each question 2x (in one sitting) from two different frames of reference: “before the program” and “at this time.” The survey is administered once at the end of the program. • Retrospective Self-Change: This method asks students to reflect on how much they feel they have changed over the period of programming. It is administered 1x at the end of the program. Students are shown a statement and are asked to think back to the beginning of the program and rate whether they do/feel things less or more because of the program.

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Supplemental Information:

  • Common_Instrument_Suite_(CIS).pdf (871 KB) Download

Assessment Type:

Self-report survey


Five STEM attitudes, four SEL/twenty-first-century skills

Publication Date:

Feb 19, 2009


Domain(s) Evaluated:

Engagement, Attitude / Behavior

Sample items:

• “I get excited about STEM.”
• “I know the steps to take to get a STEM job.”
• “I think of myself as a STEM person.”


See comment section


See comment section



Administration time:

5-20 minutes

Requires a Computer:


Requires Internet Access:


Primary reference:


Respondent: Youth or student
Reliability: Scale reliabilities were calculated based on normative samples developed for the STEM scales (CIS-S) and the 21st-century skills scales (Borrowed from the Holistic Student Assessment, HAS. The normative samples were created using a stratified random sampling of PEAR’s national database of student survey responses. See comments section below for more information. Please note: reliability information is available for the Pre- and Retrospective Self-Change versions of the CIS-S.

Validity: Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to assess construct validity. The following statistics were used to evaluate model fit, and this information is available upon request:
• Model chi-square statistic, degrees of freedom and p-value
• Root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) and its 90% confidence interval
• Comparative fit index (CFI)
• Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SMSR)

Retrospective Self-Change version (Cronbach’s alpha):
• Reliability- STEM Engagement: 0.91, STEM Career Interest: 0.82, STEM Career Knowledge: 0.87, STEM Identity: 0.88, STEM Activity Participation: 0.88, Relationships with Adults: 0.74, Relationships with Peers: 0.74, Perseverance: 0.85, Critical Thinking: 0.79

Traditional Pre-post version (Cronbach’s alpha):
• Reliability- STEM Engagement: 0.89, STEM Career Interest: 0.80, STEM Career Knowledge: 0.86, STEM Identity: 0.87, STEM Activity Participation: 0.75, Relationships with Adults: 0.69, Relationships with Peers: 0.69, Perseverance: 0.79, Critical Thinking: 0.73

STEM Criteria