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Engage, learn, achieve: the impact of museum visits on the attainment of secondary pupils in the East of England 2006-2007

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posted on 30.10.2007, 10:43 by Sheila Watson, Jocelyn Dodd, Ceri Jones, Museums Libraries and Archives East of England, Renaissance East of England
This report was commissioned from RCMG by Renaissance East of England and Museums, Libraries and Archives East of England. It investigates the impact that museums in the East of England have on the attainment of secondary school pupils completing an assessed piece of work as a result of a museum visit. Carried out in 2006-2007, this reports builds on previous research into learning in museums, in particular the What did you learn at the museum today? Second Study (2006). The research study involved nine schools across the East of England visiting five museums and one archive, which supplied assessment marks for 762 pupils. The marks for the museum-based assessment were compared with up to three previous pieces of work. A further 451 pupils and 11 teachers completed questionnaires at the end of their museum visit about their learning experiences. In four case studies researchers observed schools in museums and subsequently interviewed pupils and students in the classroom. The evidence from the study suggests that museums can have a positive impact on pupil attainment when an assessed piece of work is completed in tandem with a visit. Based on the teachers’ assessment criteria 60% of pupils achieved a higher grade for their museum-based assignment, 27% of pupils stayed the same and 13% of pupils went down in their marks when compared with up to three previous assignments. Recognising that attainment is a complex subject and part of a wider learning process in which pupils are influenced by a range of factors, the report examines the reasons for the improvement and analyses why some pupils do better than others. It found that museums support the needs of pupils with different learning styles, in particular the ‘less able’ who responded very well to museum based learning, but it also found that pupils of all abilities improved their marks. Gender differences were not apparent. Museum learning appears to support boys and girls in equal measure and go someway to eliminate the learning style differences between the genders that are apparent in classrooms. Museums motivate pupils to do well, provide an immersive learning experience that is both enjoyable and enables learning to take place. The relationship between the school and the museum was important and the role of experienced learning or education staff in the museum was a critical factor in ensuring the success of the visit. [text from RCMG website]



Leicester, Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester, 2007

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Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester



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This report is also available from the RCMG website at http://www.le.ac.uk/museumstudies/research/rcmgpublicationsandprojects.html, where individual sections can also be downloaded.



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