Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2020-36
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2020-36

  31 Jul 2020

31 Jul 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Thanks for helping me find my enthusiasm for physics! The lasting impacts research in schools projects can have on students, teachers, and schools

Martin O. Archer1 and Jennifer DeWitt2,3 Martin O. Archer and Jennifer DeWitt
  • 1School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  • 2Institute of Education, University College London, London, UK
  • 3Independent Research and Evaluation Consultant, UK

Abstract. Using 6 years of evaluation data we assess the medium- and long-term impacts upon a diverse range of students, teachers, and schools from participating in a programme of protracted university-mentored projects based in cutting-edge space science, astronomy, and particle physics research. After having completed their 6-month-long projects, the 14–18 year-old school students report having substantially increased in confidence relating to relevant scientific topics and methods as well as having developed numerous skills, outcomes which are corroborated by teachers. There is evidence that the projects helped increase students' aspirations towards physics, whereas science aspirations (generally high to begin with) were typically maintained or confirmed through their involvement. Longitudinal evaluation 3¬†years later has revealed that these projects have been lasting experiences for students which they have benefited and drawn upon in their subsequent university education. Data on students' destinations suggests that their involvement in research projects has made them more likely to undertake physics and STEM degrees than would otherwise be expected. Cases of co-created novel physics research resulting from PRiSE also has seemed to have a powerful effect, not only on the student co-authors but participating students from other schools also. Teachers have also been positively affected through participating, with the programme having influenced their own knowledge, skills, and pedagogy, as well as having advantageous effects felt across their wider schools. These impacts suggest that similar research in schools initiatives may have a role to play in aiding the increased uptake and diversity of physics and/or STEM in higher education as well as meaningfully enhancing the STEM environment within schools.

Martin O. Archer and Jennifer DeWitt

 
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Martin O. Archer and Jennifer DeWitt

Martin O. Archer and Jennifer DeWitt

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The impacts upon a diverse range of students, teachers, and schools from participating in a programme of protracted university-mentored projects based in cutting-edge physics research are assessed. The lasting impacts on confidence, skills, aspirations, and practice suggest that similar research in schools initiatives may have a role to play in aiding the increased uptake and diversity of physics/STEM in higher education as well as meaningfully enhancing the STEM environment within schools.
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