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GCSE Science Suite. For teaching from September 2006. AQA Science Development. What is possible? The AQA Sciences Suite. GCSE Science (A or B) GCSE Additional Science GCSE Additional Applied Science GCSE Applied Science (Double Award) GCSE Biology GCSE Chemistry GCSE Physics

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GCSE Science Suite

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GCSE Science Suite

For teaching from September 2006

AQA Science Development

What is possible?The AQA Sciences Suite

  • GCSE Science (A or B)

  • GCSE Additional Science

  • GCSE Additional Applied Science

  • GCSE Applied Science (Double Award)

  • GCSE Biology

  • GCSE Chemistry

  • GCSE Physics

  • Entry level

    Enables centres to offer a range of flexible progression routes from KS3 through KS4 to further studies

What is possible?

Science (core)Double applied


Additional scienceAdditional applied


Biology Chemistry Physics

Science AS / A2 e.g. GCE Applied science

Changes in assessment

There is a significant ….

  • reduction in the current emphasis on assessing pupils’ ability to recall discrete and specific components of their knowledge (about 40%)

  • increase in the emphasis on assessing pupils’ ability to use their understanding of the major ‘explanatory stories’ of science and the competencies likely to be required of students in adult life (such as the ability to comprehend media reports, or to argue a rational case based on data) (about 60%)

Science Units

External 75%

Internal 25%



















Science B / Additional and Separate sciences

  • Structured tests

  • Externally set and marked

    • 3 x 45 minute tests (B,C &P)

    • available January and June

      .. forscience A there is an alternative

  • Objective tests (on screen delivery Nov. 2006)

  • Externally set and marked

    • (3 x 2) 30 minute tests

    • available November, March, June

What about Entry Level?

  • The course involves 100% teacher assessment

  • Content linked to science (core)

  • Each unit is assessed by both teacher controlled assessments and external set assignments

    • 50% from teacher controlled assessments

    • 50% from externally set assignments (produced by AQA, marked by the teacher using AQA guidance)

  • Teachers can carry out the assessments at any time during the course.

Published materials

  • AQA is in partnership with Nelson Thornes to produce the only officially endorsed series of text books.

  • Other publishers producing texts include:

    • Collins

    • Heinemann

    • Pearsons

    • Longman

    • Hodder

  • Publishers producing revision guides include:

    • Heinemann

    • Phillip Allan

    • Collins

    • OUP

AQA Contacts

  • Science Subject Department

    • John Commerford (Senior Subject Officer)

      • (01483) 477756

    • Dee Lovell (Senior Subject Officer)

      • (01483) 556036

    • Jane Bryant (Subject Officer for Applied Science)

      • (01483) 477747

    • Susanna Piszczynska (Subject Officer, Standardisation)

      • (01483) 477758

    • Email – Science-GCSE@aqa.org.uk

  • Teacher Support

    • Marilyn Lindsey (Teacher Support Officer)

      • (01483) 477857

    • Email – Teachersupport@aqa.org.uk

  • Changes to the AQA GCSE Science Specifications

    Specification Layout e.g. Section 11.8

    • Question

      • How do humans affect the environment?

    • Introduction

      • Humans often upset the balance of different populations in natural ecosystems, or change the environment so that some species find it difficult to survive. With so many people in the world, there is a serious danger of causing permanent damage not just to local environments but also to the global environment.

    Specification LayoutProcedural Content

    • Candidates should use their skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works:

      • to analyse and interpret scientific data concerning environmental issues;

      • to weigh evidence and form balanced judgements about some of the major environmental issues facing society, including the importance of sustainable development;

      • to evaluate methods used to collect environmental data and consider their validity and reliability as evidence forenvironmental change.

    Specification LayoutSubstantive content

    • Their skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works should be set in these substantive contexts:

      • Rapid growth in the human population and an increase in the standard of living means that:

        • raw materials, including non-renewable energy resources, are rapidly being used up;

        • increasingly more waste is produced;

        • unless waste is properly handled more pollution will be caused……………………

    Specification Symbols

    • Identifies content which lends itself to investigative work of the type needed to explore Sections 10.2 – 10.6 of the procedural content.

    • About obtaining valid and reliable scientific evidence

    • May form contexts for ISAs

    • Identifies content which lends itself to activities which allow Sections 10.1 and 10.7-10.8 of the procedural content to be considered

    • These sections are about using scientific evidence e.g. how scientific evidence can contribute to decision making.

    • Identifies content that provides opportunities for using IT

    Changes to content of Specifications

    • Many topics have been removed from ‘Double Science’ (Science + Additional) to allow more time for teaching ‘How Science Works’

    • Some of these topics have been moved into Separate Sciences

    • To accommodate these topics, several topics have been removed from Separate Sciences

    • There are a limited number of new topics, mainly due to changes to the NationalCurriculum


    Why the emphasis on “How science works”?

    • To generate more enthusiasm for science

    • To make science more interesting and relevant to more students

    • To make science more accessible to more students

    • To encourage more students to follow science-based courses after 16

    How Science Works

    • What it isn’t - coursework that is taught and examined separately from the real science.

    • What it is - using the substantive content to deliver the procedural content.

    Candidates should use their skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works: to evaluate the different types of drugs and why some people use illegal drugs for recreation;to evaluate claims made about the effect of cannabis on health and the link betweencannabis and addiction to hard drugs;

    The present and the ……….. new

    • Drugs change the chemical processes in people’s bodies so that they become dependent or addicted to them and suffer withdrawal symptoms without them.

    Students should…

    • have a wide range of practical experiences.

    • see the importance that is placed on assessing scientific data on its merits.

    • have a greater awareness of science as a process and why scientists work in a particular way.

    • have a greater understanding of the relevance of science to our daily and working lives.

    • see the relevance of science to technology and of technology to science.

    Section 10 How Science Works – the Procedural Content

    10.1 The thinking behind the doing

    10.2 Fundamental ideas

    10.3 Observation as a stimulus to investigation

    10.4 Designing an investigation

    10.5 Making measurements

    10.6 Presenting data

    10.7 Using data to draw conclusions

    10.8 Societal aspects of scientific evidence

    10.9 Limitations of scientific evidence

    The Centre Assessed Component

    This component has been developed in association with Durham University

    Centre Assessed Unit

    There are two parts

    • Practical skills assessment

      0-6 marks descriptors for 2,4,6 marks – not moderated.

      Using apparatus, working methodically and safely.

    • Investigative skills assessment

      Section 1 20 marks – the candidate uses previously collected data

      Section 2 14 marks – questions relate to provided data

      The work is carried out under controlled conditions and will be externally set by AQA, marked by the teacher to AQA marking guidance.

    Implementation of Practical work




    Practical work is conducted:

    • safely, but with considerable help

      The candidate:

    • uses the apparatus with assistance


    Practical work is conducted:

    • safely and in a reasonably organised manner

      The candidate:

    • uses the apparatus skilfully and without the need for assistance


    Practical work is conducted:

    • safely and in a well-organised manner

      The candidate:

    • uses the apparatus skilfully in a demanding context

    PSA Criteria – “Can-Do Criteria”

    Investigative Skills Assignment

    • Practical work carried out in the normal way to further the learning process

    • At the conclusion of the practical work, the teacher retains the candidate’s results and graph(s)

    • At a suitable subsequent lesson, the candidates take the ISA test (45 minutes) in their normal teaching room

    • Results table and graph(s) are made available to the candidate during the test

    ISA format

    • Each ISA consists of 2 sections

      • Section 1 (between 14 and 20 marks) is based on the candidate’s own data

      • Section 2 (between 20 and 14 marks) is based on further data, given on the ISA paper, on the same topic

    ISA Admin

    • AQA will supply at least 2 for each Unit

    • They will be supplied on a secure CD or web site to the examinations officer

    • Candidates may take any number of ISAs but only one (the best result) needs to be submitted for each subject


    What will be available?

    • Additional Applied Science (Single Award)

    • Applied Science (Double Award)

    Students make progress in Applied Science

    • “In Applied Science, achievement is higher than in the traditional double-award courses when the prior attainment of pupils is taken into account”.

    • “Pupils demonstrate a good command of subject knowledge and understanding, better than that of comparable groups on conventional double-award science courses”.

      • (The Ofsted report ‘vocational pathways summer ’04)

    Rationale behind Applied Science courses

    • By following Applied Science specifications students:

    • Actively experience the scientific environment.

    • Are introduced to and use the procedural and technical knowledge of science practice followed by many types of scientist in their work.

    GCSE Additional Applied Science

    • Designed as an alternative to GCSE additional science

    • Different teaching and learning style

    • Alternative assessment regime

    • Concentrates on the skills and knowledge used by:

      • Food scientists

      • Forensic scientists

      • Sports scientists

    Unit 1

    Science in the Workplace




    Unit 2

    Science at Work




    Unit 3

    Using Scientific Skills




    GCSE Additional Applied Science

    • Unit Structure and Assessment

    Unit 1

    Science in the Workplace




    Unit 2

    Science for the Needs of Society




    Unit 3

    Developing Scientific Skills




    Unit 4

    Using Scientific Skills




    GCSE Applied Science (Double Award)

    • Unit structure and assessment

    What do the students do?

    • In unit 1they gain experience of real science in the workplace and the importance of health and safety

      (identical to the additional applied science unit 1)

    • In unit 2 the gain some essential knowledge that scientists use

    • In unit 3 they develop some skills that scientists use

    • In unit 4 they apply some of the skills that scientists use.


    Subject Officer – Jane Bryant

    GCSE Applied Science (Double Award)

    • Telephone: 01483 477753

    • E–mail: jbryant@aqa.org.uk

    • AQA website: www.aqa.org.uk

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