CREST Awards is a programme in which students aged between 5 and 19 participate in hands-on science through investigations and enquiry-based learning. The overall aim is to give students an understanding of ‘real world’ science and to build transferable skills for further education and future employment. CREST projects are student-led, with each student, or team of students, choosing the question they wish to explore and carrying out the necessary research (including both desk research and practical work).
There are five levels of award: Star, Discovery, Bronze, Silver and Gold, with each requiring increasing amounts of teacher and student time. The Star award is aimed at children aged 5-11, and comprises a resource bank of free ready-to-use challenges lasting around an hour each. Students complete 8-12 challenges to receive this award. The Discovery award, for ages 11-14, takes 5 hours, and offers a first introduction to project work. The Bronze award is also aimed at ages 11-14 but required around 10 hours of work on one project. The Silver award lasts around 30 hours and involves students aged 14-16 developing their own project idea and taking it through the scientific process. Lastly, the Gold award involves longer-term projects that require around 70 hours’ work, and is typically completed by 16-19 year olds. At Gold level, students’ work should contribute something new to the scientific or technological community or to a particular field of study. CREST Awards can be delivered using ready-made plans and resources available on the CREST website, or in conjunction with an external education provider such as a museum, or schools can plan their own projects.
The Education Endowment Foundation is currently running a project testing the impact of the CREST Silver Award programme on Year 9 pupils.
The Education Endowment Foundation evaluation should be available in spring 2019.