The Association for Science Education
  1. Home
  2. Curriculum updates and assessment

Curriculum updates and assessment

Copyright 2013 Fiendishly Clever

Key timeline for primary science
ASE has published a special issue of Primary Science outlining the reforms to the science curriculum (download issue). Key articles include:

Futher resources are available in the primary area.

Key timeline for secondary science 
Science Leaders' Hub editor, Helen Harden, has compiled this short guide to the key changes in the curriculum.

New A level and changes to GCSEs 
New A levels content to be taught from September 2015 can be found here. New GCSE content for combined and single sciences, to be taught in schools from September 2016 can be found here. Ofqual have confirmed that science GCSEs will be tiered. They are revising assessment, in light of the concerns about GCSE practical science skills and the developments in A level science. Further consultation is taking place (Ofqual's reform update).

A-Level specification comparisons

Following the reforms to science A-levels, ASE members have produced comparisons about the different specifications for first teaching from September 2015. 

A-level practical science assessment 
ASE has released a statement on GCSE and A-Level science practical work (June 2014) following Ofqual's announcement to separate practical science from A-level grades. The regulator is to go ahead with its plan to separate practical science skills from the overall A-level grade and this will mean:

  • Requirement to undertake a minimum of twelve practical activities throughout the two year course
  • Students will receive a separate grade for practical skills (pass/fail grade)
  • Students could fail their practical competence test and still achieve an A*.

Other assessment and accountability changes 

  • Ofqual announced in April 2014 the introduction on new top-level grades from 2017 to better differentiate high achivers and benchmark the UK with international comparisons. GCSEs are to be graded from nine to one, replacing A*-to-G grades. The equivalent level 'C' is likely to become a level 4.
  • Linear assessment at the end of the two year course in June, the removal of modules, January exams and most coursework
  • AS Level qualifications won’t count towards the final grade of an A Level, they will be a standalone qualification
  • In 2016, a new accountability measure, Progress 8, will be introduced to all schools replacing the 5 A*-C measure. The new measure is designed to encourage greater balance in the curriculum and includes science (DfE fact sheet).

Science and the Curriculum for Excellence - Scotland
New research finds that pupils in Scotland are not being provided with the science equipment and resources to meets the demands of the curriculum and that teachers are insufficiently supported to teach science. (read full article published 12 Nov 2014)

Last updated 12 November 2014. Currently this page predominantly refers to changes in England, but will be updated to reflect any changes in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.