Evaluating NESTA’s support for science learning

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Abstract

This paper reports on a commissioned research project to evaluate the impact of support (mainly funding) given by the UK Government's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to various projects under the general heading of ‘science learning’ over a four-year period (2000–2004). Findings emerging from the study indicate that NESTA is an imaginative and risk-taking project funder, supporting innovative approaches to science education, typically involving special events or producing web-based resources or other e-learning outcomes, characteristically with strong environmental, technological or creative themes. However, the article also reports on methodological and theoretical issues emerging from a medium-scale, largely retrospective evaluation, such as the pros and cons of a ‘multi-method’ approach (Saxe & Fine, 1979; Bennet, 2003); the need to construct a methodology that would be acceptable to the commissioning body, and the extent to which findings can be set within ‘theories of change’ frameworks proposed by Fullan (2001) and Harlen and Kinder (1997).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-31
Number of pages29
JournalEvaluation and Research in Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2008

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