Evaluation of the SSERC Primary Cluster Programme in Science and Technology(current)

The research built on previous Robert Owen Centre evaluations of Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC)’s professional development and learning programmes for teachers. It aimed to assesses the impact of the 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
  • Assess the Programme’s impact on P2—P7 learner outcomes and self-efficacy related to science education
  • 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 includes:

  • 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

A specific pupil (P2-P7) data gathering strand. This involved pre and post-programme pupil surveys and focus groups. In the first year of the three year project, this resulted in 5000 matched pre- and post-programme responses.

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 work 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, showcase 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

Deja Collier

Start and End Date

May 2015 - May 2018

Funder and Funding Amount

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