External Evaluation

Every 5-7 years the NSO commissions an independent external evaluation. The NSO does this to ensure that it continues to offer a quality service to its users. 

NSO Evaluation 2020

In 2018 the NSO adopted an internal strategy and evaluation framework guided by a set of Generic Learning Outcomes, which address the wider aims of the NSO, primarily influencing attitudes to STEM subjects. In 2019 NSO commissioned an independent evaluation to see how the project performs against these new outcomes and inform ongoing development. The evaluation and report were produced by Hope-Stone Research.

Read the full NSO Evaluation Report 2020.

Highlights include:

  • In-depth case studies including focus-groups, lesson observation and interviews were carried out in 12 schools across the UK and Ireland and covering a range of age-groups and demographics.
  • Over 50 schools answered an online questionnaire, plus another 140 independent users (including international schools).
  • The NSO has a strong positive impact on attitudes to STEM with 61% of students reporting that they “feel more interested in STEM” (0% were less interested).
  • The impact of the NSO continues outside school with 83% of secondary students using the NSO website outside lessons, and 75% sharing what they did with friends and/or family.
  • Use of the NSO also increases student confidence with, for example, 71% saying they felt “more able to share skills and knowledge with others".
  • The NSO has helped students to rethink their potential career, with an increased interest in STEM careers.

Previous Reports

The previous report from 2013 from the Centre for Science Education and the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research at Sheffield Hallam University is available here.