NUSTEM’s 5 Year Research Study
Tracking Progression on to A-Levels and University
Think Physics’ (now NUSTEM) original evaluation methodology looked to track the progression of pupils that we engaged with in partner secondary schools, to see what pathways they followed in their at A-Level and at University.
We applied for and gained access to National Pupil Database (NPD) and linked Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data in order to do this.
The plan was to use NPD data to monitor A-Level Physics numbers among the cohort we worked with in secondary partner schools, and compare this against regional and national averages. A particular focus would be on:
We also planned to use HESA data to track progression from A-Level Physics onto physics-related courses at University, again examining data by gender and low-participation background groupings.
The idea was that the findings of this analysis would be used alongside other complementary methods evaluation methods, such as primary data collection with target audiences, to assess the overall impacts of the intervention.
Access to the NPD and linked HESA data was applied for and granted and the methodology described above was carried out.
However after conducting the analysis of the NPD and HESA data, it became clear this data analysis approach was not suitable or helpful for the project evaluation for a number of reasons.
We have produced a report about our lessons learnt by undertaking this analysis following this methodology. We have summarised the lessons learnt in the info-graphic.
This report has been published with the intention of offering guidance and recommendations to others considering using these approaches to evaluate small-scale school interventions.
The full report is available here.
A larger version of the info-graphic is available here.
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