There are three categories for CREST awards: Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced. The nature of the inquiry conducted corresponds to the six CREST award levels: Green, Orange, Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
CREST awards are competency based, and teachers may choose the most applicable inquiry level to suit their students' abilities.
Introductory CREST (Green and Orange award levels)
Introductory CREST inquiries are suitable for students new to inquiry learning. A number of structured and guided science investigations and technology and engineering projects are available through CREST Online.
For a Green award, students follow the inquiry instructions provided, and undertake background research to build their knowledge and understanding of related ideas.
For an Orange award, students follow inquiry instructions and make decisions on what equipment to use and procedures to follow.
Teachers are responsible for assessing inquiries using the provided CREST rubric and awarding certificates at this level.
Intermediate CREST (Blue and Bronze award levels)
Intermediate CREST inquiries are suitable for students who are ready to transition from guided inquiries to open inquiries.
At the Blue award level, there is a selection of resources available through CREST Online that provide a stimulus for students to begin their inquiry, or students can select their own topics for inquiry and plan their own investigations and projects to be approved by the teacher. Students are responsible for conducting the inquiry or project, meeting with their teacher regularly for feedback, and maintaining a log book. At this stage, the teacher's role is largely as a guiding hand, providing feedback to students, ensuring projects are safe and ethical, and assessing inquiries.
To achieve a Blue or Bronze CREST award, students must complete the inquiry according to the time requirement specific to each award and demonstrate that they have fulfilled the criteria listed in the corresponding rubric.
Advanced CREST (Gold and Silver award levels)
Advanced CREST levels are suitable for students who can identify a scientific question and design an innovative investigation or identify a real-world problem and design an innovative technology and engineering project.
For a Silver award, there is a minimum time requirement of 30 hours, which includes the start of the inquiry to the completion of the final report, within a 12-month period.
For a Gold award, the minimum time requirement is 100 hours, and the student and teacher must engage with an external mentor to support and advise the student on the intricacies of their investigation.
Silver and Gold projects must demonstrate innovation: originality and real-world application. For more information, please download the CREST Teacher Handbook PDF (415 KB).
Competitions and challenges
Intermediate and advanced CREST projects make great entries for State and Territory Science Teacher Association Awards. Participating in these awards may lead onto other award programs, such as the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards.
Support materials are available for all CREST award levels and include checklists, rubrics, teacher and student guidance sheets, stimulus resources (Blue level), videos and more, which are available through CREST Online.