Evaluation of the SSERC Primary Cluster Programme in Science and Technology

The research assessed the impact of the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC)’s professional development and learning programmes for teachers: Primary Cluster Programme for science and technology. It provided formative and summative findings to:

• Assess the impact of the Programme on teachers’ confidence and skills to teach primary science and technology
• Refine the development of the SSERC programme and feed into the knowledge exchange process with SSERC’s local authority members, Scottish Government, ADES and other relevant professional bodies
• Support teacher participants’ practitioner enquiry and action research
• Develop a series of academic papers that contribute to concepts/ theory regarding effective professional development and learning in the context of systems change and tackling educational inequity.

The project adopted a mixed-method approach and included:
• Quantitative: Pre and post-programme census surveys of CPD teacher participants to assess impact on their confidence and skills and reported impact within and beyond the classroom
• Surveys of headteachers and other teachers across the cluster to triangulate findings
• Qualitative: (interviews, focus groups participant observation and documentary analysis – practitioner diaries/logs) with participants and other stakeholders to understand context, factors and processes involved
• Feedback and verification sessions

The SSERC Programme approach involved centralised training involving two residential events; Part One, consisting of three days and Part Two consisting of two days. During the five-month interval between the events, the teacher-mentors implement a ‘task’ in their schools and clusters. Mentors from a cluster worked as a group to develop ‘cluster conversations’ with a view to jointly devising an approach to the task of designing and implementing a programme of Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) that will support promoting science and technology teaching in their cluster. The mentors adopted a collaborative action research approach to implement and evaluate their task. During the second residential, the cluster mentors, working as a group, showcased progress and impact of their work to date. This was shared with the other clusters from their own and other local authorities participating in the same residential. Additionally, and with a view to promoting collegiality across the primary/secondary sectors, clusters invite colleagues from the associated secondary school and local authority officers with responsibility for science and technology to the showcase event. This process was supplemented by access to follow-up CLPL events and activities at cluster and school levels provided by a range of accredited agencies and individuals, SSERC on-going support and interactive e-learning.

PI and Co-Is

PI - Kevin Lowden, University of Glasgow, School of Education

Co-I - Stuart Hall, University of Glasgow, School of Education

Niamh Friel

Start and End Date

April 2012 - June 2016

Funder and Funding Amount

SSERC. Three separate tranches of £29,280, totalling £87,840

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