Evaluation of Generation STEM Work Experience: An efficacy trial

Palak Roy, Tami McCrone, Constance Rennie, Megan Lucas, Lydia Fletcher, Ben Styles and David Sims

24 September 2021

Read the full Research report on the EEF website

Generation STEM (Gen STEM) is a work experience placement intervention for Year 10 students. It increases their ability to see the relevance of schoolwork to their future careers and motivation to engage in school, aiming to develop their life skills and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects; and raise their attainment in mathematics and science. The programme includes a work experience preparation day, nominated student interviews by a panel of local employers and post-interview debrief. Five nominated students undertake one-week STEM-related work experience placement and receive post-work experience feedback. The programme was delivered by CSW Group in partnership with Graphic Science, STEM NOW and participating local employers.

This efficacy trial, co-funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, The Careers & Enterprise Company and the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, involved 58 intervention schools and 55 control schools and evaluated the impact of Gen STEM on students’ GCSE mathematics and science attainment; uptake of A-level STEM subjects; school attendance and attitudes to STEM, life and school.

Key Findings

Children in Generation STEM schools made the equivalent of 0 months’ additional progress in mathematics and science; and children eligible for Free School Meals in Generation STEM schools made the equivalent of one month’s additional progress in mathematics and science although the latter is based on a small subgroup of pupils and there is considerable uncertainty around the result. 

There was no evidence in the secondary outcome data that Generation STEM had an impact on students’ attendance in Year 11, uptake of STEM-related subjects at A-level, ability to make future decisions or attitudes to STEM, life and school.

The intervention was complex with a considerable number of component parts and was delivered and implemented very variably across different programme providers and schools.