An Evaluation of the Impact of Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the impact the Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative has in stimulating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) subjects with children aged 10-12 years. The paper presents an overview of the project, reflecting on its contribution to promoting STEM with primary school children. Short questionnaires were presented to ten teachers (quantitiative) and focus groups were conducted with twenty-eight pupils (qualitative) to evaluate success of the project. Findings show that WASPS has been positively received by participants. It is contributing to Information Communication Technologies (ICT) skills development, complementary to the Northern Ireland ICT curriculum, exciting participating pupils in STEM subjects. The WASPS project is original and novel; the format is generalisable and could be adopted to other schools, subject areas, University Faculties. However, while the project itself has been successful, true impact will not be evident for a number of years when participating pupils enter higher education.
LanguageEnglish
Pages123-135
JournalPerspectives on Practice and Pedagogy
Volume3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012

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@article{36e73180d4bd4c169dab32666b928b19,
title = "An Evaluation of the Impact of Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative",
abstract = "This paper focuses on the impact the Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative has in stimulating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) subjects with children aged 10-12 years. The paper presents an overview of the project, reflecting on its contribution to promoting STEM with primary school children. Short questionnaires were presented to ten teachers (quantitiative) and focus groups were conducted with twenty-eight pupils (qualitative) to evaluate success of the project. Findings show that WASPS has been positively received by participants. It is contributing to Information Communication Technologies (ICT) skills development, complementary to the Northern Ireland ICT curriculum, exciting participating pupils in STEM subjects. The WASPS project is original and novel; the format is generalisable and could be adopted to other schools, subject areas, University Faculties. However, while the project itself has been successful, true impact will not be evident for a number of years when participating pupils enter higher education.",
author = "Sandra Moffett and Mairin Nicell",
note = "Reference text: BringITon, (2012), Available from: http://bringitonni.info/ [Accessed 3 May 2012] Burghes, D. (1998) Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP), Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, University of Exeter, Available from: http://stem.org.uk/exeu [Accessed 3 May 2012] Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, (2009) the Demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Skills. Available from: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/migratedD/publications/D/ Demand_for_STEM_Skills [Accessed 3 May 2012] E-skills, IT and Telecoms Insights (2008). Available from: http://www.eskills.com/Research-and-policy/Insights-2008/2180 [Accessed 3 May 2012] Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) (2008) Summary of 2008 survey findings: Engineering and Technology skills and demand in industry. Available from: www.theiet.org/publicaffairs/education/skillssurvey-2008.cfm?type=pdf [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] Looking Ahead: STEM careers videos, (2012),. Available from: http://www. nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/collection/605/looking-ahead-stemcareers- videos [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] National Science and Engineering Week, (2012). Available from: http:// www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/collection/1195/national-scienceengineering- week [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] Revised Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum for Key Stage 2 (2007), Available from: http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/key_stages_1_and_2/ northern_ireland_curriculum_primary.pdf [Accessed 18 June 2012 ] Royal Society, (2008) A higher degree of concern, The Royal Society, London, Available from: http://royalsociety.org/document. asp?tip=0&id=7403 [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] Smith, H, (2007) A Review of the STEM skills supply chain, The Council for Industry and Higher Education, Available from: London, http://www.cihe-uk. com/docs/PUBS/0704STEM.pdf [Accessed 3 May 2012] 134 Volume 3, September 2012 Thinking Skills and Personal Capability Framework (2009/10), Available from: http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/key_stage_3/skills_and_capabilities/ thinking_skills_{\%}20personal_capabilities/ [Accessed 18 June 2012] Wilson, R.A. (2009) The demand for STEM Graduates: some benchmark projections, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick: Coventry.",
year = "2012",
month = "9",
day = "1",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "123--135",
journal = "Perspectives on Practice and Pedagogy",
issn = "2044-7388",

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T1 - An Evaluation of the Impact of Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative

AU - Moffett, Sandra

AU - Nicell, Mairin

N1 - Reference text: BringITon, (2012), Available from: http://bringitonni.info/ [Accessed 3 May 2012] Burghes, D. (1998) Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP), Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, University of Exeter, Available from: http://stem.org.uk/exeu [Accessed 3 May 2012] Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, (2009) the Demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Skills. Available from: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/migratedD/publications/D/ Demand_for_STEM_Skills [Accessed 3 May 2012] E-skills, IT and Telecoms Insights (2008). Available from: http://www.eskills.com/Research-and-policy/Insights-2008/2180 [Accessed 3 May 2012] Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) (2008) Summary of 2008 survey findings: Engineering and Technology skills and demand in industry. Available from: www.theiet.org/publicaffairs/education/skillssurvey-2008.cfm?type=pdf [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] Looking Ahead: STEM careers videos, (2012),. Available from: http://www. nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/collection/605/looking-ahead-stemcareers- videos [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] National Science and Engineering Week, (2012). Available from: http:// www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/collection/1195/national-scienceengineering- week [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] Revised Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum for Key Stage 2 (2007), Available from: http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/key_stages_1_and_2/ northern_ireland_curriculum_primary.pdf [Accessed 18 June 2012 ] Royal Society, (2008) A higher degree of concern, The Royal Society, London, Available from: http://royalsociety.org/document. asp?tip=0&id=7403 [Accessed 3 May 2012 ] Smith, H, (2007) A Review of the STEM skills supply chain, The Council for Industry and Higher Education, Available from: London, http://www.cihe-uk. com/docs/PUBS/0704STEM.pdf [Accessed 3 May 2012] 134 Volume 3, September 2012 Thinking Skills and Personal Capability Framework (2009/10), Available from: http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/key_stage_3/skills_and_capabilities/ thinking_skills_%20personal_capabilities/ [Accessed 18 June 2012] Wilson, R.A. (2009) The demand for STEM Graduates: some benchmark projections, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick: Coventry.

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N2 - This paper focuses on the impact the Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative has in stimulating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) subjects with children aged 10-12 years. The paper presents an overview of the project, reflecting on its contribution to promoting STEM with primary school children. Short questionnaires were presented to ten teachers (quantitiative) and focus groups were conducted with twenty-eight pupils (qualitative) to evaluate success of the project. Findings show that WASPS has been positively received by participants. It is contributing to Information Communication Technologies (ICT) skills development, complementary to the Northern Ireland ICT curriculum, exciting participating pupils in STEM subjects. The WASPS project is original and novel; the format is generalisable and could be adopted to other schools, subject areas, University Faculties. However, while the project itself has been successful, true impact will not be evident for a number of years when participating pupils enter higher education.

AB - This paper focuses on the impact the Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative has in stimulating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) subjects with children aged 10-12 years. The paper presents an overview of the project, reflecting on its contribution to promoting STEM with primary school children. Short questionnaires were presented to ten teachers (quantitiative) and focus groups were conducted with twenty-eight pupils (qualitative) to evaluate success of the project. Findings show that WASPS has been positively received by participants. It is contributing to Information Communication Technologies (ICT) skills development, complementary to the Northern Ireland ICT curriculum, exciting participating pupils in STEM subjects. The WASPS project is original and novel; the format is generalisable and could be adopted to other schools, subject areas, University Faculties. However, while the project itself has been successful, true impact will not be evident for a number of years when participating pupils enter higher education.

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SN - 2044-7388

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