CREST Star Investigators external evaluation 2008
CREST Star Investigators aims to increase interest and engagement with STEM among primary-aged children. The scheme is a collection of tried-and-tested hands-on activities that teachers (and home educators/parents and community group leaders) can use with groups of children. Activities are available in 3 levels of increasing complexity: Star, SuperStar, MegaStar.
Summary of activity:
Schools can purchase packs of CREST Star Investigators activities for use in their school. Separate packs are available for each of the levels: Star, SuperStar & MegaStar. Teachers (and parents, home educators & community leaders) can purchase packs from their CREST Local Coordinator (contact details are listed online). There are over 35 activities including Terrific Teeth (making/buying and testing toothpaste), Band Rollers (building a wind-up toy and considering climate change issues) and Brilliant Bubbles (making bubbles of different sizes).
This external evaluation was commissioned alongside the national launch of the CREST Star Investigators scheme in September 2008. The objectives that this evaluation sought to address were:
- To what extent is the CREST Star Investigators scheme meeting its stated aims (described above)?
- How is the scheme being used and who by?
- What changes, if any, would the scheme's users find helpful?
- How might the scheme's organisers take it forward?
What went well:
The evaluation found that the CREST Star Investigators scheme:
- Offers an excellent learning experience for children
- Was successful at meeting all its stated aims
- Meets the needs of a wide range of schools and activity organisers
What was learned:
The evaluation suggested several strategic and process-based changes. Some were considered problematic by the team responsible for delivering the scheme, while others have become less applicable with time. At the time of uploading to the collective memory (Oct 2012), the most pertinent recommendations are:
- Develop more online resources and support
- Promote collaboration between primary and secondary schools
- Investigate further the apparent effect on attainment.
Top tips and advice for others
Two reports are attached: the summary version was written by Annette Smith, Director of Regions at the British Science Association. The other report is the full report submitted by the external evaluators, Dr John Crossman and Dr Mark Van Vasterhoven of Evaluate (consultation and evaluation services). Both reports were originally published in 2008, so some information is outdated.