QUEST-projektet begyndte i januar 2012 og sluttede i december 2015. Den eksterne evaluering af projektet blev udført af Naturfagsenteret ved Universitetet i Oslo. Norges nationale center for undervisning i naturfag blev etableret i 2003.
Evalueringen blev forestået af Matthias Stadler, der er lektor i kemididatiktik ved Universitetet i Bergen. Matthias Stadler er blandt andet valgt som evaluator, fordi han i flere år var tilknyttet projektet SINUS Transfer, som er et stort til projekt til udvikling af naturfags- og matematikundervisningen i tyske skoler.
In the past year, QUEST has completed the first project phase. Feedback from teachers and other people involved in the project show that QUEST has succeeded in implementing a development perspective in the participating teacher groups, improved the work of the subject teams in many schools, and has achieved recognition as an exemplary model of school development initiatives. In addition, many teachers have implemented ideas introduced by QUEST in their regular teaching, and they have become aware of the importance of how their 10 students react in class. There is evidence that teachers use student feedback to adjust and adapt their teaching, and important steps towards reflection and systematic improvement have been made.
Research in QUEST has identified what teachers appreciate and benefit from regarding professional development activities: They have to be useful for practice and strengthen the quality of instruction. They must aid in building professional relations to external experts and cater for the exchange of experiences with other teachers.
Spreading the QUEST approach to other teachers and schools requires more than information. A direct interaction – not only with colleagues who are knowledgeable – but also with the ideas and their consequences seems to be needed. Therefore, inviting all interested teachers in one school to participate in a course is recommended. Material like the papers on IBSE, progression, video analysis, lesson study, and redesign, which were developed connected to the content modules, may help in the process. Visible success in classrooms triggers the interest of teachers standing beside with a more sceptical attitude.
Regarding the functioning of teacher networks, QUEST has identified criteria that contribute to their success and sustainability. Participants have to perceive the effort worth it which means that positive outcomes are crucial. The work has to be relevant and related to the development of instructional competencies. The process needs enough time and coordination, and inspiration from outside and exchange with other teachers is vital.
The transition into phase 2 shows that the handing over of responsibility is possible, but that several conditions have to be met. These conditions are not entirely fixed, but are flexible to the degree that other factors in the system can compensate. Professional teacher networks, once established, can be used to implement various educational reforms. Keeping them alive and productive requires an active administration that provides the needed resources and carefully prevents potentially harmful influences.
In 2013 QUEST has delivered two modules, developed the last module, organized a conference, prepared for the second phase and continued with research activities. Teacher feedback regarding the modules is again very positive and a large majority of the teachers report to have tried out ideas from the modules. Presentations from the conference in November confirm the widespread and diverse use of methods and tools introduced in the modules. Many schools adopted the idea of collaboration between their science teachers and regular meetings and relevant topics on the agenda contribute to high commitment. From one strand of research there are reports of teachers re-designing teaching approaches using the ideas from the modules. This will become an important source for evaluating changes in classroom practice.
QUEST has been implemented as it was planned and a considerable number of teachers have enrolled in the project activities. The courses of the IBSE module saw engaged teachers who liked the way they worked and who achieved an understanding of what inquiry is about. Many teachers tried out inquiry approaches in their classes in the weeks between the IBSE meetings and almost all informed their teacher colleagues and invited them to work together on teaching issues. Collaboration between teachers and jointly reflecting on instruction seems to yield positive reactions and can be regarded as a seed for further development in the schools. Results in QUEST so far show that to guide teachers in adopting certain teaching approaches and even to make teachers try those out in a few lessons seem to be manageable.