Evaluation of the European Space Education Resource Office: Final report

Emily Lamont, Suzanne Straw, Jennifer Jeffes

10 December 2012

NFER has been commissioned by the National STEM Centre to evaluate the effectiveness and early impacts of the European Space Education Resource Office for the UK (ESERO-UK). ESERO-UK aims to promote the use of space as a context for enriching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in schools and colleges across the UK. The overarching aim is to evaluate the effectiveness and early impacts of ESERO-UK on both teachers and stakeholders from universities and industry. The research was conducted in four distinct phases: surveys of teachers and stakeholders; collation of ongoing monitoring information from Space Ambassadors; five in-depth case studies; and telephone interviews and email pro formas with ESERO-UK’s national and regional partners and stakeholders.

Key Findings

  • ESERO-UK’s approaches to enhancing and supporting STEM teaching and learning include sourcing and development of resources for teachers’ delivery and facilitation of teacher CPD and, in some cases, ongoing curriculum support.
  • ESERO-UK has been promoted widely to many local, national and international audiences by both regional Space Ambassadors, and the national ESERO-UK office. Space Ambassadors have also promoted the work of ESERO-UK and space education more broadly, as a result of involvement in both local and national media activities.
  • The activities and support offered by ESERO-UK have led to a range of impacts on teachers, including increased awareness of space education resources and repertoire of ideas for using space as a context for their teaching. Teachers reported strongly that they would be able to apply their teaching to a range of real-world contexts, and increase the range of practical activities they offered to their students.
  • Where impacts on students were explored, teachers observed considerable impacts on students’ enjoyment of STEM subjects; confidence in STEM subjects; problem-solving and investigation skills; interest in further STEM study; and development of transferable skills.