BEST STEPS - A brand new free ASE resource for GCSE science teachers
Here at the Association For Science Education, one of the Covid-19-related issues that our 11-19 committee has been looking at has been how best to help educators prepare next years Y11 pupils for their GCSEs considering the home-schooling environment many have been working in for the past four months. The challenge posed by the varying amount and type of work completed by year 10 students during lockdown has clearly highlighted a need for a suite of resources that could help achieve a common baseline, by identifying gaps in understanding, in order to inform subsequent teaching and curriculum planning.
With that in mind, we have worked with the team behind the massively popular BEST resources to create a set of FREE teaching progressions for biology, chemistry and physics - BEST STEPS (or Student Transitions to Enable Progress in Science). Each one covers eight topics, all of which provide a sequence of three questions which together develop conceptual understanding of a key concept. These use diagnostic questions from the Best Evidence Science Teaching Project (as introduced in this edition of our Covid-19 webinar series) and GCSE examination questions to check student understanding of some key scientific concepts.
The intention of the resource is to facilitate an individualised approach by using formative assessment to identify the educational needs of students. This enables support to be provided to some students to address gaps in their understanding. Extension material may then be offered to those students identified as having secure understanding, to ensure that they are not held back. For example, appropriate extension material could involve the application of understanding of a key concept to an unfamiliar context.
All GCSE subject content has been taken from the Department for Education subject guidelines (which all specifications in England are based on), meaning this 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.
We hope you find them 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 firstname.lastname@example.org