Scottish pupils gained real benefits from taking part in School Report, said the report's authors
New research has backed the educational impact of BBC News School Report in Scottish schools.
The independent evaluation, entitled "The Impact on Teachers and Pupils of Involvement in BBC News School Report", was carried out by the University of Strathclyde's Robert Collins and independent educational consultant Moira Paterson and concluded that the project fitted in with the aims of
Curriculum for Excellence (CFE).
"The enthusiasm of those involved was clearly reflected in the quality of the broadcasts," said Mr Collins.
"The concepts of authentic challenge and engagement inherent in CFE seem to be met well in this initiative from the BBC.
"Evidence from the teachers involved indicated that they viewed participation in the programme as worthwhile."
Ms Paterson added: "Teachers were able to make their teaching more relevant to the pupils through this real world project. Pupils and teachers enjoyed the challenges involved."
Based on findings from questionnaires filled out by teachers and pupils, as well as the observation of the authors after seeing the project in operation, some of the key findings are summarised here:
- Teachers found that being involved in the project had major benefits for them as well as for the pupils
- Teachers said that participation in School Report "contributed to and helped develop at least some of the four capacities of CFE"
- Teachers commented on the value of having an authentic "real world" project which helped make their teaching more relevant
- Taking part in School Report encouraged pupils, and some teachers, to be more interested in the news and what was happening in the world
- The involvement of the BBC was considered important by all teachers who responded
- Resources available to teachers, including on the School Report website were rated highly by teachers, while the importance of BBC mentors was also judged to be key
- School Report is flexible enough to be related to a number of curricular areas depending on the interests and expertise of the teachers - as well as the interests of the pupils.
- Possible links to learning transfer outside the subject area will intrigue teachers within the secondary sector, offering as it does a tentative case for supporting the interdisciplinary dimension of CFE
The authentic nature of the project was a key feature for pupils
CfE aims to create successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society, and many teachers commented on how well School Report fits in with these objectives.
"It ties into the four capacities very well - particularly in terms of contributing to society and increasing confidence," said one teacher.
Some of the responses from the teachers who filled out the questionnaire gave a clear insight into the benefits they felt they and their students gained from the project.
"Pupils found the project fun and engaging," said one English teacher.
"I was able to offer pupils great degree of flexibility and independence in their learning."
Another English teacher quoted in the report added: "Pupils took a lot of responsibility for their own projects and really had a sense of ownership and pride."
It was noted by a number of teachers that School Report had given their pupils a boost in terms of developing their confidence and improving self-esteem.