The Bringing Cutting Edge Science to the Classroom programme - evaluation report

The Bringing Cutting Edge Science to the Classroom programme evaluation was commissioned in Autumn 2015 to analyse the success of the Cutting Edge programme in delivering its stated aims, and to assess the impact of the programme on participants, their students and colleagues.

The evaluation sought to provide recommendations to further improve the delivery and impact of the programme. The Cutting Edge Programme, run by STEM Learning, was created with leading scientists to support the teaching of science subjects at GCSE and A level (and equivalent qualifications in Scotland) in order to deliver the latest knowledge, new contexts and practical activities to teachers. It is delivered via the National STEM Learning Network in England, and strategic partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The programme aims to:

  • develop and update teachers' knowledge by engaging with scientists involved in cutting edge research
  • use authentic contexts for the effective delivery of science content
  • deepen teachers’ understanding of how science works, including controversies and ethical issues
  • engage teachers with active and inspiring teaching approaches and learning activities.

The evaluation covers courses delivered between November 2013 and March 2016, with the majority of respondents having taken a course between January 2015 and January 2016.

The Cutting Edge programme has a demonstrable positive impact on the majority of teachers. More than 88 percent of teachers who responded to the evaluation reported being more inspired by the new content they had learned, more confident to be able to teach it to their students, and having improved their knowledge of the subjects they studied.

The Cutting Edge programme brings additional benefits to course participants, with just over half of teachers reported a positive impact on their teaching skills and an increased likelihood of them continuing their career as a STEM teacher.

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