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The impact of the stimulating physics pilot on student uptake of physics post-16

Hartley, Rachel (2011) The impact of the stimulating physics pilot on student uptake of physics post-16. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Stimulating Physics, a HEFCE-funded initiative of the Institute of Physics (IOP) sought to increase the number of physics A level students by 30% over a five year period. In the pilot phase, between January 2007 and July 2009, schools received targeted support for subject-based professional development for non-specialist teachers of physics and pupil engagement activities. This project presents a longitudinal study into the effectiveness of the pilot, examining key performance indicators and evaluating the efficacy of the professional development to determine whether there have been enduring changes in the attitudes, pedagogy and organisational structure in schools. Questionnaire and interview responses from pilot schools were augmented with secondary data from the National Pupil Database, permitting quantitative comparisons with control schools within the same local authority regions that had not participated in the pilot. At AS level there was a significantly greater increase in the proportion of Year 12 students opting for physics in pilot schools compared with control schools. The national pupil database shows an increase of 55.8% in the number of Year 13 A level entries in 2009/10 compared to 2005/06 exceeding the IOP’s target. A more modest (33.5%) increase in participation in physics occurred in control schools in the same period which may be attributable to other factors including curriculum changes and popularisation by the media. The most positive changes in the uptake of girls were seen where there had been targeted activities related to raising the profile of physics and careers. Departments demonstrating a sustained change in their working practices characteristically provided time within the school day for development opportunities for the whole department and had subject leaders that actively participated in the CPD. Students described novel teaching approaches in schools where physics specialists were in short supply, and highlighted the importance of having enthusiastic physics specialist teachers.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Keywords: stimulating physics CPD teacher training AS A2 girls IOP
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Depositing User: Mrs Rachel Hartley
Date Deposited: 28 May 2012 14:07
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2411

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