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Evaluating the impact

It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of these small changes so that you can focus your efforts on where it makes a difference.
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JAMES: In terms of planning for where we talked about the careers, I thought it was a nice place to start at the start, just start getting them thinking about careers in which direction that lesson was going to go in. And then as we moved through the lesson, it was more about– the simple experiment, moving the magnets. And where they could feel that actual force, it then sparked their own imaginations in terms of where they could be used. So that was a really good link for them to then decide what careers this could be use for and where they could apply something as simple as magnets outside of the classroom.
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I think it could be seen in today’s classroom that the impact is quite significant. There was not really too much writing done today, but all the students left knowing what an electromagnet is. Knowing how it’s applied and also some jobs it applies to. And I really think it meant a lot of the students started to question why, which is what I want them to know is, I want that why question all of the time. And even some of the students that don’t necessarily always engage, even left the classroom feeling like they knew a bit more than when they entered.
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NEIL WILLIS: As you choose your small change that you will implement, it is important to consider how you evaluate the impact of these changes. This will help you to decide if you wish to collect any information or evidence as part of the lesson. We can divide the evaluation into three categories, engagement, behaviour, and learning. Did your students enjoy the lesson? Were they more engaged than usual? You know your students, and you will know the answer to this, but whether the answer is yes or no, it is the why that can help you shape future planning. You may have strategies that you currently use in your teaching to gauge engagement, such as student perception surveys.
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Three emojis on the wall on the way out or a simple tick from each student can give some rapid and easy feedback. You may wish to conduct a short student voice activity at an appropriate time after the lesson, or use an exit ticket with one or two targeted questions posed. Engagement will often correlate to behaviour, so you will consider if the students were better behaved than usual. Did they exhibit better behaviour for learning, work independently, or participate in discussion more than normal? Depending on your school or college policy, you may have quantitative data that can be used to evidence the impact. Evaluation of learning may be through formative assessment over a short or longer period.
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For example if a learning outcome was to solve problems in a context, this might be evaluated at the end of a learning episode or activity. If it was to gain a wider understanding of how a subject relates to the world of work, this may be a longer term evaluation. A quick review of knowledge before and after a learning activity can quickly capture impact. For example, you could ask before, can you think of examples of people who apply percentages regularly in their work? And afterwards, what did you learn about the application of this topic to the world of work? Ultimately, we can also use summative assessment over time to evaluate the impact of learning.
It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of these small changes so that you can focus your efforts on where it makes a difference. Whilst watching this video, consider the small changes the teachers have made to introduce career learning to their lessons and the impact this has had on their students.

Looking at the impact in your classroom

Here are the small changes we shared earlier and some ideas for assessing the impact of each change.

1. People, jobs and industries

Using examples of STEM careers and industries, and the people who work in them, to:
  • Introduce a topic with career learning.
  • Integrate careers research into your lesson planning.
  • Support students to reflect on how their learning is used in industry.
  • Create and update career displays.
Key questions to help you reflect on the impact of these small changes:
  • Are students more aware of how what they are learning is relevant in the world of work?
  • Are students engaging in more STEM related conversations with family and friends?
  • Can students identify more role models within STEM and are these role models inclusive?
Using the Skills Builder Framework as a structure for developing essential skills for employment.
Key questions to help you reflect on the impact of these small changes:
  • Can students identify which essential skills they are using for a given activity?
  • Can they link the essential skills to their use in industry?
  • Have students made progress against the Skills Builder Framework? (Self-assessment tools and passports are available on the Skills Builder Hub)

3. Contextualise the learning

Using examples from both the inspirational and the everyday to help students understand how STEM subjects are used outside of the classroom.
  • Keeping it local.
  • Referencing wider issues.
Key questions to help you reflect on the impact of these small changes:
  • Are students able to talk about contemporary issues within STEM sectors?
  • Can students name and provide a summary of the work undertaken by local STEM industries?
  • Are students able to articulate how STEM is helping to solve local, national or global issues?

Reflect

More broadly, it might be interesting to reflect on how much students enjoy the subject you teach after implementing your small changes. For instance, are they producing better work, more engaged or better behaved when the learning is linked to people in industry, the skills they use and the relevant global issues?
If the answer is yes, share this success your colleagues. If the answer is no, review your planning and make changes to try a different approach. Consider collaborating with your Careers Leader who might be able to support your planning and observe your lesson delivery.
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Linking Curriculum Learning to STEM Careers

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