BEST STEPS - A diagnostic resource for GCSE science teachers

The Association for Science Education has worked with the team behind the massively popular BEST resources - which were made possible thanks to the generosity of the Salters Institute - to create a set of FREE resources for biology, chemistry and physics that help to identify gaps in students’ understanding. Each BEST STEPS (or Student Transitions to Enable Progress in Science) resource includes sequences of three diagnostic questions for eight GCSE-level (age 14-16) topics. These diagnostic questions help to identify student misconceptions that might otherwise form a barrier to student learning.

All GCSE subject content has been taken from the Department for Education subject guidelines (which all specifications in England are based on), meaning the BEST STEPS resource is suitable for all GCSE specifications. The topics selected are studied by all students regardless of tier and are required for both combined science and triples science specifications. However, the science concepts developed are universal - so the resource can also be used to support students studying for equivalent qualifications in other countries.

ASE is delighted to have received funding from the Horners’ Company Charity to produce a brand-new BEST STEPS module to accompany the BEST resources. This “next steps” resource explains how contexts can be used to help address identified gaps in student understanding. The resource also shows how contexts can support students to progress in their ability to apply and connect their understanding. This interactive resource combines subject-specific CPD videos with student-facing material and teacher notes so that teachers can try the exemplar contexts and questions with their own students.

The funding has also enabled ASE to produce a new “Getting Started” video guide to the original BEST STEPS resources along with a further CPD video on “The power of diagnostic questions”.

We hope you find the BEST STEPS family of resources useful, and if you do, please share them within your institution and digital networks. The team would love to hear any comments and suggestions about the resources - please share your feedback, using BEST STEPS in the email subject line, via


The BEST STEPS Resources...

Biology STEPS

Eight teaching progression/diagnostics for teaching biology...

Chemistry STEPS

Eight teaching progression/diagnostics for teaching chemistry...

Physics STEPS

Eight teaching progression/diagnostics for teaching physics...

BEST STEPS - next steps

This interactive CPD document features guidance on how to use contexts to support student progress in the classroom.

Supporting videos...

Getting started...

New to BEST STEPS? This video guide talks you through the main features and ideas for using the resources in your own school.

Diagnostic Questions

This mini-webinar takes you from the basics of formative and summative assessment to the distinctive nature of diagnostic questions and their power at identifying misconceptions.

Physics contexts

A video guide to choosing suitable physics contexts and devising context-based questions.

Chemistry contexts

A video guide to choosing suitable chemistry contexts and devising context-based questions

Biology contexts

A video guide to choosing suitable biology contexts and devising context-based questions

Additional BEST Resources...

Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST) webinar

This webinar explores the use of the basic research-informed resources of BEST, designed to help diagnose and challenge students' misunderstandings. (Summer 2020)

BEST Curriculum Planning 11-16

This session shares ideas and practices for using the BEST resources to develop a flexible and responsive science curriculum which effectively sequences the growth of students’ understanding of science. (Summer 2020)

BEST Homepage

The homepage of the base Best Evidence Science Teaching resources (external site)