Tool Reflection and Evaluation

The Equity Compass | A tool for supporting socially just practice

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 13 November 2020
Last modified on 23 May 2022

Developed by the Youth Equity+STEM (YESTEM) project, a 4-year Science Learning+ Partnership project funded by the National Science Foundation (US) and the Wellcome Trust (UK).

If you work with young people and want Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) to be more equitable and socially just, then the Equity Compass could help point you in the right direction. It is a tool that aims to move Science from being a destination for the elite few, to a vehicle that serves and belongs to the whole community.

Equitable practice is not just about what you do, but how and why you do it. The stance taken and the principles underlying a particular programme or activity will profoundly shape its potential for either reinforcing, or transforming social inequalities.

The Equity Compass helps users to adopt  a social justice mindset when developing and  reflecting on their policy and/or practice. It prompts users to consider multiple dimensions of equity, as represented by the eight segments of the compass

How to use it in practice: reflect and act

  • Each axis of the Equity Compass has a set of associated Guiding Questions to help you to reflect on your policy and/or practice. You can apply the compass either generally or specifically, using it to consider anything from an organizational top level policy down to a single session within a programme.

  • Use the Guiding Questions to help you reflect critically on each compass axis – where would current practice ‘sit’ on each arrow? You can draw or map it on to the compass.
  • Use the compass to identify areas that you would like to work on further. For instance, you might want to prioritise areas where your mapping sits in the centre zones of the compass. Use the questions and axes to help prompt ideas about how future programmes and activities might be planned in line with the eight dimensions of equity.
  • Track your progress towards more justice-oriented practice by charting outwards movement on the Equity Compass axes.


See also this online course that will teach you how to use the Equity Compass Tool

Online Course - Equity in Informal STEM Learning: Using the Equity Compass

You’ll be introduced to the Equity Compass and learn how and why you could use it. Using the Equity Compass framework, you’ll reflect on and develop your practice. Through case studies from informal STEM learning settings, reflective questions, and discussions, you’ll learn how to plan activities that are equitable and support all young people, particularly those from minoritised communities.

A 3-week course that will help you reflect on and develop equitable and inclusive practice, to ensure that your organisation can effectively support diverse young people’s engagement with STEM. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of equity issues, the factors influencing inequalities in STEM and what to do about it. By the end, you’ll have created a plan of action to make your practice more equitable and inclusive.

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe key factors influencing inequalities in STEM participation and informal STEM learning
  • Explain the difference between equality, equity, social justice
  • Describe the components of the Equity Compass
  • Apply the Equity Compass to examples from informal STEM learning
  • Identify weak and strong examples of equitable practice
  • Reflect on and develop your own practice using the Equity Compass

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