Ofqual has announced the adoption of a new approach for GCSE science practical assessment that will use written exam questions in place of controlled assessment.
Each exam board will have to specify a minimum number of practical activities that students must complete in class, set no lower than 8 in each individual science subject and 16 for combined science. Each school will be required to confirm that they have enabled their students to do the full range of practical work and students will be required to keep a record of their work. Read More
CaSE is concerned with Ofqual’s move to examine science GCSEs solely by written exam. CaSE sees that there is a real danger of further erosion of practical science experience and skills for GCSE science students. There seems to be no evidence that this form of assessment would lead to better outcomes for young people. Read More
Election 2015 – Policy Briefings
Ahead of the 2015 Election, the Campaign for Science and Engineering has worked with its members and collaborators to develop a toolkit that government can use to realise its ambition to make the UK a leading scientific nation.
Every major political party has put science and engineering at the heart of their plans for a prosperous innovative Britain, driving high skills jobs and growth. Read More
The Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee is reviewing progress on the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), the transformative programme for 3 to 18 education in Scotland. Because the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Education Committee works to identify and promote priorities for education in Scotland at all levels, it has been involved in monitoring and responding to CfE. Read More
This year sees many changes to the GCSE system including the addition of the Further Additional Science qualification and changes to school accountability measures driving behaviour change. The changes make it difficult to unpick precisely what today’s results mean for science. Equally, the figures out today highlight the increasingly complex nature of the options for studying science facing schools, teachers and students. Read More
Rising popularity of science and maths
Today’s A-level results show the continued rise in popularity of science and maths subjects at A-level. Maths continues its extraordinary rise to overtake English as the highest entry subject with 10.7% of the total A-level entry. Biology retains its position in third place with 7.7% of total entry. Chemistry assumes its highest ranking over the period 2002-2014 to take fifth place. Physics regains a 2002 high of 4.4% after a dip in popularity in the mid-2000s. Read More
However hard people try, it is clear nobody can predict exactly what will happen in the future. But we can be sure that in five, ten and twenty years time science and mathematics will be at the heart of everyone’s lives, and skills in “STEM” areas will probably be even more essential in order to get a job and to to participate fully in society as a citizen. Read More
“Science A-level reforms are not practical at all”
While the Chancellor has committed to making the UK the best place in the world to do science, changes to A-levels mean that young people will be able leave school with the highest grades in science without being able to do science at all. Read More
CaSE is delighted to welcome the Government’s increase in the ringfenced science budget from £4,576m to £4,691m for 2015-16, an increase of £115m.
The Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, and the Chancellor, George Osborne, have both emphasised that science is a priority for the Government and this announcement demonstrates their commitment. Read More
This week saw the publication of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 survey results. PISA aims to evaluate and compare the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15 year-olds. More than 510,000 students in 65 economies took part in the latest test, which covered maths, reading and science. Read More
Posted in Highlights
Also tagged international
CaSE welcomes the latest Ofsted report, Maintaining curiosity in science, and its valuable contribution to the evidence base enabling better informed policy decisions regarding science education in schools. Read More
Posted in Highlights
Also tagged GCSEs, Skills
In October, CaSE brought together the science spokespeople from each of the main political parties to debate the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. The event, kindly hosted by the Royal Society and chaired by Pallab Ghosh, gave us the opportunity to hear from each party on issues ranging from the use of scientific advice in Government through to research funding and matters around diversity in science and engineering. Read More
Last Wednesday saw CaSE bring together the science spokespeople from the three main Westminster parties to debate the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. Read More
Science GCSEs are changing
Today’s results reflect the complex set of options that students and schools face in science education at GCSE level. We are in a transitional stage which must be difficult to navigate.
Among the options for a science education are Science and Advanced Science (worth 2 GCSEs if both are taken or 1 for Science alone); single subject sciences of Biology, Physics and Chemistry; International GCSEs, which appear to be preferred by some independent schools and academies. To further complicate matters, this is the first year of examinations for the new Science and Advanced Science syllabus which is intended to be more demanding. Read More
The UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, last week suggested that more women should go into engineering to help solve the skills shortage. He highlighted the vital role that women represent in engineering and the need to shift the mindset and reputation the industry has about engineering being a ‘dirty hands’ business suitable only for men.
Lord Heseltine, the former Deputy Prime Minister, used the 2012 CaSE Annual Lecture to call for science to help drive the UK’s economic growth.
Heseltine – who served in the Cabinet under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and ultimately became Deputy Prime Minister – recently published his report ‘No Stone Unturned‘. The report, commissioned by George Osborne and Vince Cable, makes 89 recommendations for getting the UK back on the path to prosperity. Read More
At their party conference this morning in Brighton, the Liberal Democrats passed ‘Developing a Future – Policies for Science and Research’ – a policy motion urging the Government to increase investment in science and research across the UK.
The motion was moved by former scientist Dr Julian Huppert MP, and CaSE contributed to the development of the underlying policy paper.
This week sees the first major re-shuffle of the Government. Where does it leave the Coalition’s policies on science and engineering?
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
Both Vince Cable and David Willetts have kept their jobs as Secretary of State and Universities and Science Minister respectively. This will be largely welcomed by scientists and engineers – the two were given credit for staving off larger cuts to the science budget by central Government during the 2010 Spending Review. Willetts, in particular, has gained plaudits for his active engagement with the science community.
The one minor change has been the departure of Mark Prisk as Minister of State, to be replaced with Michael Fallon. Amongst other duties, Fallon will be responsible for promoting economic growth, as well as looking after specific sectors such as electronics & cyber-security, and low-emission vehicles.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomed another good year for science GCSEs, with physics, chemistry, and biology each enjoying a 12.3% rise in entries compared to last year. Although less emphatic than last year’s rises of nearly 16%, the trend is vitally important. There’s also good news for gender balance, with more of the increase coming from girls taking science than boys. Both of these changes now need to continue to filter through to pupils taking A-levels. Read More
Posted in Press releases
Also tagged GCSEs