The Institute endeavours to constantly evaluate the Reaching Students Program and other outreach components of the Tall Poppy Campaign and to learn from the feedback we receive. All of our events or interventions seek formal feedback through an evaluation form with standard questions as well as questions tailored to the particular event..

In the six months July to December 2010 we had reached 35 individual school groups and 2,781 students in direct interaction. This is not including our teacher or parent focused activities, or other indirect outreach activities.

Participating teachers have provided us with feedback on these activities:

  • 91% agreed or strongly agreed that the content of the presentations was relevant to the curriculum level/interests of the students who attended (the other respondents did not answer this question);
  • 100% agreed or strongly agreed that the presenters/presentations gave students an insight into the work of practicing scientists and researchers;
  • 100% agreed or strongly agreed that presenters related well to the students and teachers;
  • 70% agreed or strongly agreed that the program may contribute to an improvement in students’ participation in science classes/activities;
  • 87% agreed or strongly agreed that they would use information from the presentation in lessons they conduct in future;
  • 78% agreed or strongly agreed that this intervention would help to attract students to tertiary studies and/or careers in the sciences
  • 100% said that they would like the Tall Poppies Reaching Students Program to visit or involve their school again; and
  • 100% said they would recommend the Tall Poppies Reaching Students Program to other schools.

While this is positive feedback on our work, we believe there is a need to focus on multi-faceted approaches to attracting students into STEM careers and building science understanding and engagement in the broader community. We therefore also provide teacher development sessions and seek to target groups such as parents and career adviser’s to build a more holistic approach that is likely to have longer term impact.

Teachers value our teacher professional development sessions, but are also hungry for year level and curriculum specific support in student outreach activities, which suggests our science teachers need more support in their specific roles.

Our program also elicits feedback from participating students. Here is what some of them have said:

“It was informative, interesting, inspiring, investigating, intriguing, intelligent, intellectual, intense and inchanting (sic).  I really enjoyed it and am now considering science much more deeply.”

“I went home and told my parents I want to be a scientist.  They were pleased.”

“Dr. Caruso spoke really well, her age and accomplishments were inspiring.  Being heavily involved in science, but having friends who aren’t, I thought she broke it down really well.”