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Gold Awards allow students to conduct real research. They are longer-term projects that require around 70 hours’ work and are typically completed by 16-19-year-olds. At Gold level, your students’ work should contribute something new to the scientific or technological community or to a particular field of study.

Choose a project

Support your students in choosing a project. This could be their own idea, or it could use an existing resource from our partners or us. It could link to other work they are doing in school, for example, GCSE coursework.

You could also:

  • Use one of our ready-made plans and resources 
  • Arrange for an external education provider run a project with your students. This could be at your school, or at another accredited location such as a museum.

Tips for planning your own project

  • Make sure it will enable your students to meet the Gold assessment criteria listed below in the assessment section.
  • Students working towards Gold Awards should consider the broader impact of their project and demonstrate an innovative approach
  • Each student should complete a minimum of 70 hours of work during the project.
  • Give students as much choice as possible in their project topic as students respond more positively to a challenge that they’ve had some part in choosing
  • Whatever their level, don’t underestimate students’ ability to respond to a challenge

You can choose any topic you or your students would like to research and turn it into a CREST project. Here are some weird and wonderful CREST project titles carried out by students over the 30 years of CREST.

  • Can hamsters be trained to use a potty?
  • How does a slinky defy gravity?
  • What materials do bubbles bounce best on?
  • Does time fly if you’re having fun?
  • Can girls find Wally faster than boys?
  • Can you taste the flavour of skittles whilst blindfolded?
  • Is there a science behind baby-holding?
  • Is a snail just a slug with a shell?

The most important thing is that there is an element of investigation and exploration and that the project sets out to answer a question or solve a problem.

Register your students

Our network of local coordinators will help you to register your students and will be on hand to provide any advice or support you need.

Your local coordinator will send you an invoice for the registration fee, which includes personalised certificates for every successful student.

Gold awards cost £20 per student for British schools; £35 for international schools.

In Wales, the entry fees are paid by the Welsh government, so all CREST Awards are free to Welsh schools.

Yng Nghymru, mae’r ffi mynediad Gwobr CREST cyfan yn cael ei dalu gan Lywodraeth Cymru.

Finding a mentor

Mentors can play an important role in CREST projects by offering their experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to help inspire students. They can open a window into what working in STEM can be like.

We strongly recommend that your Gold level students work with mentors on their projects.

See how you can find mentors for your students.

Run the project

This is the fun part! Your students can have the freedom to explore their ideas and run their own investigations.

Your students should work collaboratively on the project or challenge(s) in self-managed groups, with your support.

Download our student guide for CREST Gold to find out more

Recording project work

CREST assessors will need the following to evaluate a project:

  • A project report
  • A completed CREST Gold Award student profile form, which includes the project checklist and personal reflections about each student’s experience and what they learnt.

When the project is done by a team, the team should produce a joint report, but each team member needs to submit an individual student profile.

Writing a CREST Gold report

At the end of the project, students will need to write a report to introduce, describe and evaluate their work.

Tips to help your students create a CREST project report:

  • Number the pages in the report. This will help students reference areas of the report when they fill out the checklist in their profile form.
  • Students should use their own words. We want to hear about their project and what they did. Don’t let students use information copied straight from the internet in the report.
  • Make sure they list the sources of research information. We don’t mind what format references are in, so long as we can find any sources they used. You might need to help students with this.

Recording work in an accessible way

You can use discretion over how students work is recorded and presented. For example, it may be more appropriate to:

  • record the student working, and have a supporting adult complete the student profile on their behalf
  • provide a scribe for the student to fill out the workbook
  • use in person interviews

Submit your students’ work for assessment

Send your student’s work to your local coordinator.

The project will be externally assessed, usually the local coordinator or the project mentor. The work will be assessed against the CREST assessment criteria below. Your students may be asked to present their work to the assessor, either by producing a poster or giving a presentation.

To get a CREST Gold Award each student needs to demonstrate at least 11 of the CREST criteria at acceptable standard or above, covering all four sections of the criteria. They should also complete around 70 hours of project work.

Your local coordinator will advise you on the assessment outcome. Where a student hasn’t met the criteria for an Award, you will get feedback on what they need to do to meet the required level.

CREST Gold assessment criteria

Planning the project

  • The students set a clear aim for the project and broke it down into smaller objectives
  • The students explained a wider purpose for the project
  • The students identified a range of approaches to completing the project
  • The students described their plan for how to complete the project and why they chose that approach
  • The students planned and organised their time well

Throughout the project

  • The students made good use of the materials and people available
  • The students researched the background to the project and referenced their sources appropriately

Finalising the project

  • The students made logical conclusions and explained the implications for the wider world
  • The students explained how what they did affected the outcome of the project
  • The students explained what they have learned and reflected on what they could improve

Project-wide criteria

  • The students showed understanding of the science behind their project, appropriate to their level
  • The students made decisions to direct the project, taking account of ethical and safety issues
  • The students showed creative thinking in carrying out the project
  • The students identified and overcame problems successfully
  • The students explained their project clearly, in both writing and conversation

Any questions?

Visit the help centre, or contact your local coordinator.

thumb_03_60_60Chris Conheeny

Tapton School

My Stem Club were assessed for their Bronze Award and had so much pride when they got it! The assessor was impressed at the skills they had learned in communication and facing challenges. The whole experience is so valuable!

thumb_03_60_60CREST teacher

It’s helped the self-esteem for some low achievers for whom it is their major achievement in school.