A study of the nature, management and relative effectiveness of pupil project work in C.S.E. science
The findings reported in this study are based on responses made to a postal questionnaire sent to 98 schools and colleges in the East Midland region and completed by 461 C.S.E. science teachers, 160 of whom were implementing some form of pupil project work as part of their C.S.E. science teaching programme. Supported by data from a series of formal interviews and school visits, three main types of project approach are identified and different patterns of project organisation and management are discussed. The role of project work in the acquisition of skills and the development of favourable attitudes towards learning and science is also examined. Arguments for and against the use of project work with the 'average' pupil are subsequently considered alongside a discussion of the attitudes of pupils towards it and their ability to benefit from it. Out of the discussion emerges the view that the project approach - although often useful as a means of increasing pupils' interest and co-operation - is not essential to the acquisition of skills and attitudes appropriate to the main objectives of existing C.S.E. science courses. The results show that what can be achieved through project work is dependent not only upon the type of project that is undertaken but also upon the planning and preparation put into it, the nature of guidance and the level of supervision given to pupils prior to and during its course, the availability of resources and teachers' confidence in it as a teaching/ learning strategy and method of assessment.