A new Best Evidence in Brief with a study confirming earlier research like PISA 2015:
The Education Endowment Foundation in the UK has published an evaluation of an inquiry-based learning intervention – CREST Silver Award.Delivered by the British Science Association, the CREST program aims to help students engage with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects by allowing them to develop their own project ideas. Eighty secondary schools in South East England and London took part in the trial, involving 2,810 Year 9 students (ages 13-14). While CREST can normally be delivered by any STEM department in the school, for the trial, CREST was delivered by the science department in each school. Schools had the flexibility to decide how they would deliver CREST (for example, as a whole class activity or as a STEM club) and when they would run the program (during school, after school, lunch break, or during class time). Students were expected to complete 30 hours of project work in total.
The independent evaluation by NatCen found that students who took part in the program made no additional progress in science achievement (as measured by the Progress Test in Science) compared to similar students who were not offered the program (effect size = -0.01). Nor was there any evidence that the CREST Silver Award improved self-efficacy in science or increased the percentage of students aspiring to a STEM career; however, small positive impacts were found for student confidence and attitudes toward school.