CREST Gold criteria guidance

CREST Gold criteria guidance

Below are the CREST criteria with a breakdown of what's expected at Gold level with examples. The examples are designed as an illustration of how the criteria might be met but are in no way designed to be exhaustive or prescriptive. 

Watch our CREST Explained: The CREST Criteria to learn more. 

1 – Planning the project

1.1 The student set a clear aim for the project and broke it down into smaller objectives
The student expressed their project aim in broad terms. They explained how they know will know they have been successful in achieving the aim. Also, they set out specific and measurable objectives for the project.
The aim of this study is to determine the extent of psychological impact on athletes who have been diagnosed with an Inherited Cardiac Condition (ICC).

The results of this study could be applied in a clinical setting to ensure that the multifaceted effects of a diagnosis are addressed and that where there is likely to a psychological impact, patients are given the appropriate level of support that may be required after diagnosis.

I will have achieved my aim if:
  1. I have quantifiably shown whether being diagnosed with ICC psychologically impacts athletes or not.
  2. I have determined the extent of the effects on athletes, both short and long term, and compared the impact with other conditions or events that psychologically impact an individual e.g. trauma or loss.
  3. I have proposed potential methods of supporting patients that may require support after diagnosis.

  1. Research and choose (or devise) a scale to assess the level of psychological impact on the individual;
  2. Research methods of gathering data e.g. surveys;
  3. Design a suitable way to assess the level of psychological impact;
  4. Identify suitable patients to take part in the study;
  5. Carry out research and gather sufficient data;
  6. Analyse the data; and
  7. Form any conclusions and discussion points from the data.
1.2 The student explained a wider purpose for the project
The student showed comprehensive understanding of the wider context of their project. They explained how the project fits into this context and the possible direct and indirect implications of their work.
We feel our project is important because we want to make society and our classmates aware of what they’re putting into their bodies and seeing the consequences such as Coronary Heart Disease and type 2 diabetes.

It’s also important because companies are making huge profits by selling products as ‘healthy’ and ‘low fat’ even when the levels of fat are significantly higher than other snacks.

We think this is especially important in secondary school because the more we educate people on nutrition at this key age in life, the greater the chance we could reduce rates of coronary heart disease and other associated conditions in later life.

We also feel this is important due to the rapidly increasing rates of childhood obesity.
1.3 The student identified a range of approaches to the project

This criterion is about how the project as a whole will be achieved and not just the method for any experiments undertaken. Remember that there are different types of CREST projects
The student identified a range of relevant approaches – drawing on research and best practice in the field. They evaluated the approaches in detail.
In the lesson, I could formatively assess my students and gather information on their learning in multiple ways – each of these have their positives and negatives.

Asking the class questions and choosing a student to answer using a random generator

This method of selecting a student is fair, as the student is chosen at random. This avoids the issue of only choosing students confident enough to volunteer their answers or those that feel they know the answer (when other students in the class may not).
What’s more, if the student is correct, I will know that at least one student has understood the content – and depending on the student, other students are likely to have understood too. If the student, is incorrect then I will have an opportunity to address the misconception or wrong information in front of the class – potentially addressing multiple students’ misconceptions at once.

As the students are chosen at random, and because this is a new topic, there is a chance that a student lacking confidence is selected and ‘put-on-the-spot’. Asking the student when they don’t know the answer, may result in their self-confidence being further undermined.
Also, this method of assessment only definitively tells me whether this student knows the answer, and not if the whole class understands. What’s more, if it is a closed question – I won’t know whether the student has understood the answer or if they are regurgitating facts.
If I wanted to ask multiple questions, then this is a time-intensive way of gathering information about the class’s learning – which is not ideal as I need to address a lot of content in this lesson.

Using an online quiz where students answer multiple-choice questions in pairs or small groups.

This method is the most comprehensive. It ensures I reach the entire class and is a relatively simple process to set up.

Working in pairs or small groups could bias the results or lead to cheating.
1.4 The student described their plan for the project and why they chose that approach

This criterion is about stating the plan for the project at a high-level with students reflecting on and justifying their choices.
The student communicated a well-developed approach for their project, identifying the key activities and milestones.

They provided the rationale for their choice and described their decision-making process.
To achieve our aim of, “identifying the most impactful way of raising awareness and perception of STEM careers in 9-11-year olds” we will take the following approach:
  1. Identify existing research on STEM career awareness and perceptions of 9-11-year-olds
  2. Do research and receive training on primary science teaching methods
  3. Identify our experiment’s hypotheses and design our experiment. This will include comparing delivery methods in schools e.g. embedding STEM careers info into lessons versus doing a stand-alone STEM careers lesson, and doing STEM careers events with youth community groups.
  4. Gather and process the data on awareness and perceptions of STEM careers which we collected in our experiment.
  5. Draw conclusions for our project, reflect on the project and how we did, and do our project write-up and presentation
Our rationale for this approach is that we will have a great opportunity to interact with and teach primary students as part of our school’s outreach programme. We want to make the most of this opportunity, including developing teaching skills and carrying out some research (benefitting us) as well as furthering younger students’ STEM and STEM career knowledge (benefitting the students).
Similarly, one of our group members already works with a youth community group, so this is a great opportunity to see whether the situation and context of the STEM careers information affects the level of awareness and perception.

We want to gather and process data so that we can use this data to answer our project aim, as well as sharing our data with our project mentor’s research group. Hopefully, they will be able to use our data in their research paper – increasing the impact of our work.
1.5 The student planned and organised their time well

This criterion is about evidencing their plan. For this criterion we want to see something explicit like a breakdown of timings and dates or a timeline or Gantt chart, depending on the project’s Award level. It’s insufficient for students to only state that they planned.

Note that the plan should cover the whole project, from planning and researching; to gathering data; to analysing results and drawing conclusions; to reflecting and presenting the project.
The student produced a comprehensive plan for their project. They demonstrated a high level of understanding of the tasks – the skill, time and dependencies required to complete them, and assigned resources and time accordingly. It is clear what the tasks are, how long they will take, who will do them and when.
I structured my project in three broad sections of work – as I was completing the project alone, but with the help of a mentor, this had an impact on how I was going to run it.

I used a Gantt chart to give times and dates for each section of work, see appendix 1. [Gantt chart shows the tasks – their duration, start and end dates, dependencies and team member responsible]

There are a large number of tasks that will be affected by my main experiment, so I have allowed a good amount of extra time (2 weeks) as a contingency in case I face difficulties. 
2 – Throughout the project

2.1 The student made good use of the materials and people available
The students identified and sought out the resources and people required. They used them in an efficient and effective way.
To test our design, we needed materials to create a model prototype. As part of our research, we found and costed raw materials to make our designs. As an alternative, we also contacted our local university’s outreach and engineering departments to see if we could use their 3D printer.

The university said that we could use their printer. Thankfully, one of the people who worked at the university was able to help with the set-up and printing of our designs. What’s more, because the printer was fast and efficient, we were able to produce several models.
This meant that we were able to fully test our designs to destruction multiple times – something we wouldn’t have been able to do if we’d a prototype from hand.
2.2 The student researched the background to the project and acknowledged their sources appropriately
The student extensively researched their project. The research is relevant, accurate and reliable. A consistent referencing style has been used throughout (there are no requirements for a specific style to be used).

Most references are from primary sources.
Stress, whether psychological or physical, is caused when a situation creates pressure or fear on a person. Stress may be felt during an exam, under time pressure, drastic changes in situations, and due to occupation (Timio and Gentili et al., 1979). In response to stress, hormone levels can increase by two or five times (Ranabir and Reetu, 2011).
3 – Finalising the project

3.1 The student made logical conclusions and explained the implications for the wider world
The student drew logical and well-considered conclusions. They explored, in detail, the direct and indirect implications of their work on the wider world. They directly addressed the project’s aim and wider purpose.
The findings of the practical parts of my project validated that compound F can be synthesised relatively easily in real-life using the method above, and it isn’t just a theoretical compound I produced computationally.

This means that this compound could be a drug that doesn’t cause arrhythmias when used as a cancer treatment, due to it not having dioxolane rings. Ultimately, this means that this drug could be used in cancer treatments with reduced side-effects. This could improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the risk of complications during their treatment. See the table 2 (in the background information section) for figures on the number of people in the UK who suffer from lung, prostrate, bladder, colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, breast or ovarian cancers, or soft tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma a, hepatocellular carcinoma, leukemia or lymphomas. These are the people that may benefit from the different drugs I created computationally and the one I produced practically.

My mentor will submit the new compounds to chemical databases, such as ChEMBL and PubChem, so that they can be accessed and used by others.

Also, my results helped to achieve my project’s secondary aim, “to show the usefulness and viability of using compounds from chemical databases in computational modelling.” As I identified several novel compounds using computational methods and existing compounds from chemical databases I (plus others in the past) have shown that this approach is possible. What’s more, as I was able to practically produce the most easily synthesised compound, I’ve shown that the compounds produced are not theoretical only. Finally, as the compounds still have structures responsible for treating cancer, but without dioxolane rings, the impact of my compound as a treatment is potentially very large.
Hopefully, others will see the usefulness of employing silico techniques in early stages of drug discovery, as it is low cost and high impact. What’s more, as public chemical databases are continually growing, the number of compounds, and the data on them, is huge and easily accessed. 
3.2 The student explained how their actions and decisions affected the project’s outcome

This criterion is about understanding how the student’s actions and decisions affected the project.
The student should be able to demonstrate a reflective approach. “I decided to do X and this changed my project in the following ways…”
The student identified and critiqued their project outcomes. They explained in detail how their actions and decisions affected their project.
The method I chose to edit the genome of the embryos (CRISPR) resulted in statistically significant and reliable data. The process was relatively quick when compared to other methods. Also, based on the research I’ve carried out and my mentor’s advice – it was the best option.

If I had used zinc-finger nucleases (ZFN) instead of CRISPR, although I would have received conclusive data earlier, the process overall would have lasted much longer. Also, there would have been a higher chance of errors due to the extra stages in the process.
3.3 The student explained what they have learnt and reflected on what they could improve
The student summarised what they learnt and the skills they developed over the project. They reflected on their performance, what they did well and where they can improve. They stated how the project could be improved if it were to be repeated or taken further (and what would be required to do this – time, resources etc.)
We feel this project has greatly benefitted our scientific and technological skillset, we have become more confident both in the science behind hydropower and with using complex computer systems and machinery. We have also improved our time management skills and ability to work independently. We now understand the history behind energy production and the wide variety of ways in which it can be achieved. This project has also allowed us to gain a wider view on the serious issues associated with energy use and abuse of the Earth’s natural resources and what we as individuals can do to help prevent the advancement of climate change.

There were several things we did well as a team. We made a point of lying down ground rules at the start of the project. This helped to set everyone’s expectations and ensure that everyone’s opinions were listened to and taken on-board. This proved useful, as there were several times in the project where team members disagreed, but because we had agreed to listen to each other and respect each other’s opinions, we were able to resolve the disagreements in a way that everyone was happy with.

My performance could have been improved by spending more time planning my tasks, rather than rushing in. Because of my impatience, I ended up making silly mistakes (not reading the method properly etc.) which resulted in me taking longer than I would have done if I had planned better.

If we were complete this project again, we would try and keep to our schedules and reduce the break in the middle during exams and holidays. We would also try and split up the responsibilities of each section more equally.  We do realise there are a number of improvements we could make to our model in order to improve its efficiency and reliability. For example, we could investigate making and using our own generator. Another improvement we could make is moving our prototype from the classroom to a drainpipe which will improve reliability and validity of results.
Also, instead of using thermosetting plastic for the paddles and the tank, we could research different materials because it was quite difficult to mould due to its properties.
4 – Project-wide criteria

4.1 The student showed understanding of the science behind their project, appropriate to their level

The subject knowledge and complexity of the project should be at these levels.
Key Stage 5/Level 3

Senior phase: Sixth year (S6)

IB Diploma Programme

4.2 The student made decisions to direct the project, taking account of ethical and safety issues

Risk assessments are a good form of evidence that health and safety have been considered at Silver and Gold level.

The project was largely self-directed by the student. Educators/mentors were consulted on technical or subject knowledge matters.

The student consciously worked in a safe manner, with input from educators/mentors when necessary.

The student consciously worked in an ethical manner, with input from educators/mentors when necessary.
Based on my background research and the data needed to prove or nullify my hypothesis, I provisionally chose method X. I spoke to my mentor about the method to confirm it was appropriate and to get their advice on best practice and things to look out for.

I completed a risk assessment (appendix c) for the experiment, using a template risk assessment my mentor gave me. This outlined all the risks, their likelihood of occurring (1-5), their impact if they did happen (1-5) and the precautions I put in place to mitigate the risks.

Because of my method, I needed to consider the ethics of collecting and processing people’s data. I did further background research – this time into the relevant legislation and best practice for research involving people’s data.The most important piece of legislation was the Data Protection Act (2018), which specifies (amongst other things) that people must give consent for their data to be gathered and used, and that it must be clear what they are consenting to.

I also followed the guidance of the Medical Research Council, particularly their ‘Good research practices: principles and guidelines’ (MRC, 2011). Unfortunately, MRC’s guidance on, ‘Using information about people in health research’ isn’t available yet, as it’s being updated at the time of this project. Therefore, I followed their publication, “Personal Information in Medical Research” (MRC, 2001) and modified my practice where necessary to be compliant with the Data protection act.

For my method, I drew up a consent form for users to fill out. The purpose of this form was to specify what data I was collecting, what the data would be used for and for participants to give their consent. My mentor checked my consent form to make sure it was accurate and clear and compliant with the Data protection act.
4.3 The student showed creative thinking

This criterion draws on Bloom’s taxonomy.  At Gold level the student showed evidence of working at the, “analysing to creating” levels of cognition. 
The student analysed multiple aspects of the project. They developed existing knowledge and ideas from a related field, and/or combined and applied knowledge and ideas from seemingly unrelated areas to create a novel approach or outcome.
In my project I collected both qualitative and quantitative data. While I could have analysed and written up this data by itself, I wanted to link my project back to its wider context and meet the project objects (see introduction paragraph 2).To do, this I accessed and processed open-source data from [xxxxx] which included data on [xxxx].

I took this as an opportunity to use my computer science and coding skills to create a programme that combined data sets from multiple sources (quantitative data from my experiment and the open-source data), analysed the results and created a single output file.

The code for my program is appendix A and the resulting output file is appendix B.
4.4 The student identified and overcame problems successfully

It is highly unlikely a project was problem free. If no problems were encountered, the student should describe problems that could have occurred and how they were avoided.
The student approached problems strategically. They demonstrated a good understanding of the root cause(s) of the problems encountered. They created solutions that were effective, innovative and (if relevant) founded on their research.
Once a suitable diameter for the coil had been achieved, we applied glue to the rails with a hot glue gun which would hold the coil in place. Then, the top faces of the acrylic squares were removed, and further applications of glue secured the whole coil.

Unfortunately, the hot glue gun’s temperature was too hot, and the acrylic plate began to melt. What was worse was that the acrylic melted at the glue gun’s lowest temperature setting so we couldn’t make the glue come out of the gun any cooler.We tried various workarounds, including applying the glue to the coil, allowing it to cool and then making contact with the plates at the last minute. However, this didn’t work either as the glue solidified at too high a temperature.

Finally, we went back to our research on different types of adhesives and decided to try our second choice, a contact adhesive. The contact adhesive was applied to the coil and acrylic square which formed a good bond – even if it did take 30 minutes to fully set.
4.5 The student explained their project clearly, in writing or conversation
The student communicated their project in an engaging and informative way to their intended audience – someone with a good amount of scientific literacy but with no background or specialist knowledge of the topic. They used accessible language and structured their project in a logical and easily understood way. They used images, graphs and tables etc., where appropriate, to help communicate information. Their project is mostly free from spelling and grammatically error.

If the project was delivered verbally, the student spoke without reading verbatim from a slide or notes.
The student has:
  1. Thought about their intended audience. They have included an appropriate amount of information and used a tone that is interesting and informative.
  2. Explained abbreviations. They have stated the full term the first time it is used with the abbreviation in brackets.
  3. Organised the project into a logical structure.
  4. Used concise language where possible.
  5. Used examples and evidence to back up their points.
  6. Proofread and/or practiced their presentation so it is well-rehearsed, understandable and free of simple mistakes.
  7. Made use of images, graphs and tables where appropriate

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