Curriculum and Assessment
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Resources below have been selected by ASE's expert Education Group to support implementing changes to the curriculum and assessment. Find out more
Science Education Policy (See our science education policy section)
The UK nations are seeing continuous curriculum change currently. This following report gives details of the comparison of education policy in the UK nations.
UK-wide STEM education provision has been recognised as the key to ensuring that the 'science skills gap' is closed.
Changes to the national curriculum in the form of Programmes of Study, came into force in September 2014, with KS4 content continuing to be linked to provision of new GCSE specifications from September 2016. New AS and A levels have been taught from September 2015.
Ofsted recently published Maintaining Curiosity, a three year study of what’s good and what can be improved in primary and secondary science.
Making judgements about science in your school:
Progress 8 (in England):
The 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. GCSE grading changes to 1-9.
Assessment without levels
All matters curriculum and assessment can be found at the Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)
Alongside Wales, Northern Ireland is retaining A*-G grading system and as such will be developing any qualifications which are not currently offered by either awarding organisation at GCSE.
All separate science CCEA GCSEs are now accredited for delivery September 2016 which include formally assessed practical skills component worth 20% uniform marks at both AS and A2.
Modular assessment remains, but the January series is removed.
CCEA Past Papers
Inclusing GCSE single award science, double award science and entry certificate.
New A-Level specifications are on the CCEA website:
AS and A level remain linked qualification (no decoupling), and both CCEA and WJEC will continue to assess practical skills directly worth 20%.
To meet local needs of industry, a single and double award A Level in Life and Health Sciences has been developed by CCEA. This is the only new A level to be formally mapped like the separate sciences to of Ofqual/NI regulator requirements for Maths as well as having compulsory chemistry physics and biology content content as well as including formal assessment of practical skills. This has been developed to produce a more rigorously assessed alternative to Applied Science but taking into account needs of both industry locally and UK more widely.
There is some concern regarding the non-statutory nature of science. A recent report from the NI Assembly looks at the integration of history, geography and science as the World Around Us (WAU). The main issue is that project based learning for science may be ineffective as less than 2% of primary teachers have science at GCE or above so can avoid teaching it. This has been detrimental to science.
Additionally the inspectorate ETINI carried out a review into WAU curriculum, and made recommendations in January 2015.
Locally still a teacher surplus although signs of both PGCE courses and schools struggling to get physics or chemistry specialists. Locally a major shortage of graduate chemists and physicists for major locally headquartered Life and Health Science based International companies. Recruitment from Southern Ireland and Scotland becoming much more common to meet recruitment needs.
Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence has given rise to new National qualifications which are now being taught throughout the nation
There is support for National qualifications in Biology, Physics and Chemistry old and new.
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.
The Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) is a Local Authority shared service providing support across all 32 Scottish Education Authorities to teachers and technicians including health and safety advice, CPD, publications and other advisory services.
All curriculum and assessment materials can be found at Learning Wales.
There was a recent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements from Foundation phase to KS4 conducted by Prof. Graham Donaldson. Further resources are being provided to support science as a result of this review.
ASE have published an article explaining the Welsh perspective
Reform to qualifications at AS/A2 and GCSE are ongoing, with WJEC been the only awarding body to agree to develop specifications for Wales.
Last updated 26 February 2016.