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ASE's Views

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The Association for Science Education (ASE) Statements

 Statement on GCSE and A-level Science Practical Work 

Over the last decade, there has been a succession of European projects, reports and international meetings that has positioned inquiry as the preferred pedagogical approach for teaching science and this approach places practical work at the heart of science learning. It is therefore imperative that the science education community work together to improve the teaching and assessment of practical work in the science curriculum.

The Association for Science Education (ASE), under the umbrella of SCORE (Science Community Representing Education), has already made its views on reforms to assessment of practical work at A-Level strongly to the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and to the Government. 

Our main concerns are that separating the grade for practical work from the main qualification grade at A-Level may devalue practical work and therefore schools may not be supported in terms of funding, technical support and professional training.

There are proposals to alter the assessment of practical work at GCSEGiven the accountability pressures in schools, the ASE is concerned that any developments must improve the crucial experience of practical work for students.

The ASE Getting Practical project laid the foundations for clearer recognition of the role of practical work in developing technical skills, investigative skills, and in promoting understanding in science. We will support efforts to embed these three components into new specifications for A level and for GCSE and look forward to improved practice in the assessment of these three aspects of Working Scientifically.

The ASE therefore calls for funding, research and development into the building of more rigorous and valid assessments throughout the 11-19 phases in order to encourage and support the practical aspects of science learning.

Statement revised 6 June 2014, The Association for Science Education

ASE in Action

October 14, 2013 ASE responds to consultation on primary assessment and accountability under the new national curriculum

September 29, 2013 ASE has concerns for the position of science education in Northern Ireland

Janaury 16, 2013 Response to Department for Business Innovation and Skills Consultation: Chartered status for further education sector

September 12, 2012 Response to the Welsh Government consultation on the Review of qualifications for 14- to 19-years-olds in Wales.

April 27, 2012 ASE contributes to report showing lack of appropriate maths skills

March 30, 2012 ASE responds to the Royal Society’s Call for Views for its Vision for science and mathematics education 5-19 project.

February 15, 2012 ASE responds to Ofsted consultation on Initial Teacher Training inspection, through it’s ATSE group (Association of Tutors in Science Education).

October 7, 2011 ASE responds to Early Years Foundation Stage consultation An ASE response, informed by its national primary science committee and research committee.

September 19, 2011 THE ASE joins top scientists in calling for evolution not creationism to be taught in schools. 

September 14, 2011 ASE evidence in House of Commons Science and Technology Committee ReportPractical experiments in school science lessons and science field trips.

May 20, 2011 ASE responds to the Science and Technology Committee InquiryWritten evidence submitted by the ASE's Outdoor Science Working Group on practical experiments in school science lessons and science field trips.

April 14, 2011 A SCORE response to the Department for Education’s call for evidence on the review of the National Curriculum.