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#ASEchat 142 What types of science courses should be made available for pupils aged 14-16?

#ASEchat Summary

Monday 3 march 2014 with Richard Needham @ViciaScience


Following the recent consultation on criteria for GCSEs in biology chemistry, physics and combined science, tonight’s #ASEchat examined which assessments are used, and what assessments should be developed for level 2 pupils. 


  • There is a move away from BTEC as the examination becomes more difficult, and because of the introduction of progress 8 measures for accountability. @aqua_rach pointed out the importance of students having clear progression routes available to them at 16+ and beyond.
  • Applied science was seen as a good alternative to BTEC, it builds student confidence (@hrogerson) and is enjoyable to teach (@NgeeOg). It is particularly effective if the school can work with a college that has good work links but there needs to be more industry linking. @NeedhamL56 suggested that teachers could present all of their post 14 science as applied science by using local contexts for their school science curriculum in which to teach the national curriculum.
  • Currently we have too many choices of science courses at 14, which makes it difficult for teachers. The recent SCORE conference suggested that there should be no choice at 14. @hrogerson asked for more choices at 16, once the level 2 qualifications have been sorted out. This echoes other comments about the need for clear progression routes from 14-18, and also to see the science curriculum as a continuum from Y7 – Y11 or beyond (@oboelizzy).
  • There was a lot of support for reducing the number of examination boards in science to one. There was less agreement around whether there should be one examination board nationally or whether existing boards divide up the available subjects between them. If examination boards were centralized, they should not be government controlled. 
  • Younger teachers may not remember KS3 SATs in science, but there was support for introducing testing to a range of different year groups, whilst reducing the importance of GCSE for accountability measures.

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Top Tweets

  • Hrogerson I think we make it difficult for ourselves to be teaching so many different course - does anyone else teach such a wide range?
  • NeedhamL56 Make sure you read Tim Oates article in SSR about the evolution of the NC and the importance of the school curriculum
  • A_Weatherall read the whole thing from cover to cover. Best SSR in ages
  • MrChurchTweets Boo!! finally sat down at my desk, and missed #asechat! - hopefully next week!