This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken by review groups linked to the EPPI Centre
STS approaches are sometimes referred to as context-based or applications-led approaches.
There is good evidence for the following:
- Context-based approaches do not adversely affect pupils’ understanding of scientific ideas.
There is reasonable evidence for the following:
- Context-based approaches foster more positive attitudes to science in general.
- Both boys and girls in classes using a context-based/STS approach held significantly more positive attitudes to science than their same-sex peers in classes using a traditional approach.
- A context-based/STS approach to teaching science narrowed the gap between boys and girls in their attitude to science.
- In cases when boys enjoyed the materials significantly more than girls, this was due to the nature of the practical work in the unit; in cases when girls enjoyed context-based materials significantly more than boys, this was because of the non-practical activities in the unit.
There was some evidence of gains in positive attitudes and conceptual understanding for students of lower ability.
1. A systematic review of the effects of context-based and Science-Technology-Society (STS) approaches in the teaching of secondary science (2003)
2. The effects of context-based and Science-Technology-Society (STS) approaches in the teaching of secondary science on boys and girls, and on lower-ability pupils (2005)