Enhancing Summative Assessment of Practical Science Skills at GCSE

What makes plants grow? What are stars made of? Scientists answer such questions by collecting and interpreting data. Sometimes scientists use experiments where they change conditions and study the effects of changes. For instance, in the case of plant growth, the amount of sunlight and water can be manipulated to see if they make any difference. Scientists use different approaches to practical work as they make sense of phenomena, and they use the information from their investigations to reach conclusions.

So, how are skills of doing practical science using such different aspects reflected in high stake examinations at GSCE level in England? What new examination questions can be designed to measure pupils’ understanding of different aspects of practical science and how they work together for coherent understanding of science? This project addresses these questions by designing and testing new examination questions that can be used nationally. It explores the views of a diverse range of teachers and pupils so that the new examination questions can be adapted for use across the country without biasing any particular cohort.

Project members from AQA:

  • Dr Lena Gray (Management Board)
  • Dr Ruth Johnson (Management Board)
  • Dr Stephen Wooding (Research Officer)
  • Katy Finch (Research Officer)

More information: oucea.education.ox.ac.uk/research/recent-research-projects/calibrate/