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The British Science Association’s (BSA) CREST Award is a practical science intervention for school-age children, which seeks to broaden their interest in science and encourage them to continue with STEM subjects. BSA wanted to know what impact the Silver CREST Award was having on improving GCSE science students' grades.


Pro Bono Economics (PBE) linked BSA with expert economists from the Treasury and DEFRA. Volunteer economists used the National Pupil Database compiled by the Department for Education to bring together information on CREST participants, pupil characteristics (e.g. demographics), attainment and subject selection data.


The report suggests that students who took Silver CREST achieved half a grade higher on their best science GCSE result compared to a statistically matched control group. Students who undertook a CREST Silver Award were 21% more likely to take a STEM AS Level.


The results of this report will support the British Science Association in making a case for encouraging greater CREST uptake in schools. CREST builds transferable skills for further education and future employment. BSA has now received funding from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to conduct a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) to look at the benefits of CREST, largely due to the results of this report.

Rt. Hon the Lord Willetts (Chair, British Science Association):

“We believe that CREST, with its student-led, hands-on, project-based approach can play an important role in inspiring a new generation of future STEM leaders for the UK. This report is an excellent first step in building a reliable evidence-base to demonstrate the impact of CREST”.

Rosie Stock-Jones and Tom Annable (Economists at the Cabinet Office):

“Pro bono work is rewarding and challenging, we’re extremely glad we did it. It culminated in us being able to present our analysis at the House of Lords (courtesy of David Willetts, BSA Chair) which was a great development opportunity."

This report was launched at the House of Lords by Rt Hon the Lord Willetts on Wednesday 27 January.

A blog from the volunteers can be read here.