What is Science about?
Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations. Scientific progress comes from logical, systematic work and from creative insight, built on a foundation of respect for evidence. Different cultures and periods of history have contributed to the development of science.
Science is able to inform problem solving and decision making in many areas of life. Many of the major challenges and opportunities that confront our world need to be approached from a scientific perspective, taking into account social and ethical considerations.
By studying science, students:
- develop an understanding of the world, built on current scientific theories
- learn that science involves particular processes and ways of developing and organising knowledge and that these continue to evolve
- use their current scientific knowledge and skills for problem solving and developing further knowledge
- use scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the communication, application, and implications of science as these relate to their own lives and cultures and to the sustainability of the environment.
The fundamental aims of science education are expressed as a series of achievement aims, grouped by strand.
The nature of science strand is the overarching, unifying strand. Through it, students learn what science is and how scientists work. They develop the skills, attitudes, and values to build a foundation for understanding the world. They come to appreciate that while scientific knowledge is durable, it is also constantly re-evaluated in the light of new evidence. They learn how scientists carry out investigations, and they come to see science as a socially valuable knowledge system. They learn how science ideas are communicated and to make links between scientific knowledge and everyday decisions and actions. These outcomes are pursued through the following contextual strands in which scientific knowledge has developed and continues to develop.
The living world strand is about living things and how they interact with each other and the environment. Students develop an understanding of the diversity of life and life processes, of where and how life has evolved, of evolution as the link between life processes and ecology, and of the impact of humans on all forms of life. As a result, they are able to make more informed decisions about significant biological issues. The emphasis is on the biology of New Zealand, including the sustainability of New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora and distinctive ecosystems.
The planet Earth and beyond strand is about the interconnecting systems and processes of the Earth, the other parts of the solar system, and the universe beyond. Students learn that Earth’s subsystems of geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life) are interdependent and that all are important. They come to appreciate that humans can affect this interdependence in both positive and negative ways.
Students also learn that Earth provides all the resources required to sustain life except energy from the Sun, and that, as humans, we act as guardians of these finite resources. This means knowing and understanding the numerous interactions of Earth’s four systems with the solar system. Students can then confront the issues facing our planet and make informed decisions about the protection and wise use of Earth’s resources.
The physical world strand provides explanations for a wide range of physical phenomena, including light, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, forces, and motion, united by the concept of energy, which is transformed from one form to another without loss. By studying physics, students gain an understanding of interactions between parts of the physical world and of the ways in which they can be represented. Knowing about physics enables people to understand a wide range of contemporary issues and challenges and potential technological solutions.
The material world strand involves the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. In their study of chemistry, students develop understandings of the composition and properties of matter, the changes it undergoes, and the energy involved. They use their understanding of the fundamental properties of chemistry to make sense of the world around them. They learn to interpret their observations by considering the properties and behaviour of atoms, molecules, and ions. They learn to communicate their understandings, using the symbols and conventions of chemistry. Using their knowledge of chemistry, they are better able to understand science-related challenges, such as environmental sustainability and the development of new materials, pharmaceuticals, and sources of energy.
Big Ideas and Significant Learning
The Big Ideas of Science are the knowledge developed within the Science Learning Area. This includes conceptual and procedural knowledge drawn from both western science and from mātauranga Māori bodies of knowledge and their respective knowledge-generating processes.
Teachers of Science are quite familiar with the Big Ideas of Science that connect the 'content' of this discipline. These ideas are organised into the contextual strands in the New Zealand Curriculum (Living World, Material World, Physical World and Planet Earth and Beyond). Some of these Big Ideas sit largely within a single strand, for example, evolution as a source of biodiversity, and others, such as the conservation of energy, weave across all strands.
Four overarching Big Ideas about Science have also been identified and developed. They are derived from the New Zealand Curriculum and involve aspects of mātauranga pūtaiao and Science that will provide young New Zealanders with the skills, attitudes and capabilities to engage fully with life. They are an amalgam of:
● Nature of Science
● Key Competencies from NZC
● Values and vision from NZC
● Science capabilities
● Mātauranga pūtaiao.
Big Idea 1: Investigating in Science
Investigations are used to generate and evaluate knowledge both in science and in mātauranga pūtaiao, to answer questions. A variety of investigation methods exist that involve making observations, gathering evidence, and collecting and interpreting data. Different investigation approaches are appropriate for answering different questions. Approaches may include pattern-seeking, exploring and observing, investigating models, classifying and identifying, making things, developing systems, and fair testing. Key aspects of investigating in science include formulating questions, using an appropriate investigation approach to generate evidence, and evaluating both the suitability of the approach and the rigour of the evidence generated. All steps are important to ensure the findings of an investigation are robust and fit for purpose.
Investigations enable scientists to create, test and clarify knowledge and understanding which builds the body of science knowledge. Investigations allow learners to not only test current science understanding, but also to question and challenge the status quo, with the potential to create new knowledge and understandings. Learners have questions they want answers to, and these range in nature and complexity requiring various investigation approaches. Learners who are curious about the natural world will collect data to seek patterns or to gain a greater understanding of the phenomenon in question. Everyone has the capacity to produce and use primary data from a variety of contexts and sources, including the ability to consider narratives and human experiences as authentic and valid inputs. By engaging in investigations themselves, learners are more likely to think critically about information, data, and claims from the investigations of others. A life-long learner is able to investigate, evaluate, and collect data to enhance their participation in society.
Big Idea 2: Using science to engage with real world issues
Science and mātauranga pūtaiao offer ways for students to engage with real world issues (including problems, needs, and opportunities) at a personal, community, and/or global level. Students will bring their own world view, experiences, and knowledge while building new capabilities such as disciplinary meaning making, perspective taking, and critical inquiry to develop evidence-based opinions, and respond to real world issues at a local level.
Students are empowered when they learn to explore different perspectives, develop and express their own reasoned opinions, and make decisions to take action. Students will use the practices and knowledge drawn from multiple knowledge systems including mātauranga Māori and western science to inform their perspectives, opinions, and actions. When they explore real world issues, as well as considering science perspectives, they will also need to consider relevant cultural, social, environmental, ethical, economic, and political implications. Using science to engage with real world issues provides a tangible purpose for learning, builds student agency, and enables science-informed actions that contribute to communities.
Big Idea 3: Science as a human endeavour
Science and mātauranga pūtaiao involve particular processes and ways of developing and organising knowledge, and these continue to evolve. Both recognise the importance of creativity and curiosity, and neither deals with absolutes. Developments in culture, history, technology, and philosophical viewpoints have changed what science can explain. People currently working in these fields learn from and build on knowledge that has been generated by those who came before them. By understanding how science knowledge has developed, extended, and changed over time, learners can appreciate how science and mātauranga pūtaiao operate and can use appropriate tools in their own science practice.
Understanding how science and mātauranga pūtaiao have developed over time, and familiarity with the tools used to generate scientific knowledge allows students to contextualise content knowledge gained across the strands of the science discipline.
By exploring the stories, the models used to generate and test ideas, the experiments carried out to explore concepts (including classic failures), and the development of theories and laws, students gain some understanding of the history and philosophy of science and of mātauranga pūtaiao. Through their explorations, they come to appreciate the tentative and robust nature of science.
Big Idea 4: Communicating in Science
Science offers a way for students to interpret representations, critique evidence, and communicate knowledge, thus enabling their active participation in society. While mātauranga pūtaiao and science represent their ideas in different ways, both help our understanding of the natural world, giving us two rich perspectives. The rigour of the conventions used in both mātauranga pūtaiao and science means science ideas remain testable which justifies their inclusion in the growing body of science knowledge. Science ideas are presented in different ways depending on whether they are communicated to other scientists or to the public.
There are conventions in the way science knowledge is generated. When science-related information is communicated to the public, it may be presented in various forms, including primary research findings (scientific reports and scholarly articles), pūrākau (narratives containing scientific wisdom), and popular media such as TED Talks, infographics, and illustrated narratives – among others. The way science information is conveyed to the public may not use all the formal science conventions but knowing what these conventions are and how they work can help us interpret and evaluate scientific claims and ideas in the public space.
Young people are bombarded with a huge volume of information from the internet and other sources. Those who are able to critique information and arguments involving evidence, and assess the validity of that evidence will make informed decisions. The tools to discern valid evidence and to distinguish science from pseudo-science are vital in this information-rich world. Students are also communicators of science. Different audiences will require them to communicate their own findings and understandings in different styles.
What’s the relationship between mātauranga pūtaiao and science?
Deep indigenous understandings of the natural world are found in many nations around the world. In Aotearoa New Zealand the broad indigenous body of knowledge and way of engaging with the world is called mātauranga Māori. An integral part of mātauranga Māori is what has become known as mātauranga pūtaiao – those aspects of mātauranga Māori concerned with understanding and interacting with the natural world around us.
Mātauranga pūtaiao expresses the existence of and the relationships between organisms and systems in the natural world through specific concepts such as whakapapa, mauri, kaitiakitanga, and derived conceptual frameworks.
The term 'natural world' encompasses all four strands of the NZC – living world, chemical world, physical world, and planet Earth and beyond. For Māori, it expresses the existence of and the relationships between all organisms as well as the interconnectedness of all realms and aspects of their environment.
For Māori, the natural world is whatever their local environment provides. Māori have a place-based understanding of their environment. Even in an urban environment displaced from their ancestral whenua, Māori apply the concepts of mātauranga pūtaiao to interpret and interact with their local environment within the wider world.
The key to accessing mātauranga pūtaiao is through concepts such as whakapapa, whanaungatanga, mauri, tapu, noa, and kaitiakitanga. These concepts do not sit within any one curriculum strand and cannot be separated because in te ao Māori they are fully integrated. A te ao Māori view is holistic. For this reason, in the Learning Matrix, some focus questions have been provided that span the strands of Significant Learning we associate with 'subjects' in order to provide opportunities to work with the interconnectedness of the Māori world view. This is a rich opportunity to move away from the compartmentalising of teaching and learning.
One key aspect of mātauranga pūtaiao, for example, is the way Māori view themselves as an integral part of all systems in the natural world, rather than being outside of the system. This relates to the concept of whanaungatanga, and contrasts with the more detached perspective that has historically been a feature of western science understandings and activity. Incorporating this way of viewing the world helps ākonga to see themselves in the learning of science.
The knowledge that we call mātauranga pūtaiao informs the world view of Māori – so mātauranga pūtaiao is less about the knowledge itself and more about how engaging with it provides a Māori perspective on the world.
When we incorporate mātauranga pūtaiao into our programmes of learning it is important to avoid inserting it in, or comparing it to western science. The two world views and bodies of knowledge are separate and need to be considered separately. One should not be given greater status than the other – both have authority.
Why should we consider alternative world views in our teaching of science?
An appreciation of the existence and nature of mātauranga pūtaiao and its relationship with science is a key aspect to being a New Zealander.
It is imperative in order to provide educationally powerful connections for ākonga Māori who have the right to engage in learning that recognises their language, culture, and identity.
Other learners, including Pacific, are also entitled to have their language, culture and identity recognised in their learning.
All learners can and should learn from indigenous knowledge systems at a time when new approaches are needed to deal with the challenges faced by all.
Key Competencies in Science
This section of New Zealand Curriculum online offers specific guidance to school leaders and teachers on integrating the Key Competencies into the daily activities of the school and its Teaching and Learning Programmes.
The thinking Key Competency is about using creative, critical and meta-cognitive processes to make sense of information experiences and ideas.
Students in Science will:
- develop greater understanding of the nature of mātauranga Māori and the nature of western science. They recognise how western science and mātauranga Māori knowledge can help solve world problems. They understand how models and theories have developed through time (and are influenced by culture, politics etc), and how evidence continues to inform future projections of the application
- grasp increasingly complex science concepts and apply them to an growing range of contexts
- understand that science knowledge is developed through investigation
- select, plan and carry out a range of appropriate investigations (including evaluating method and data)
- analyse information in its various forms and know how to check the sources of information.
- identify the assumptions that underlie claims made by journalists, scientists, and themselves, and to check these against the evidence
- learn to distinguish science from pseudo science.
Relating to others
Relating to others is about interacting effectively with a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts.
Students in Science will:
- when planning science investigations or engaging with local socio-scientific issues, define the problem/issue and establish what knowledge they already bring and what new knowledge they may need to gain; and determine the different perspectives, (eg indigenous world views, western science, social science) that people apply to their cultural, social, environmental, ethical, economic, political views of the issue
- use scientific understandings to make decisions and take actions in social and cultural contexts.
Understanding languages, symbols, and texts
This Competency is about working with and making meaning of the codes in which knowledge is expressed.
Students in Science will:
- develop knowledge of the vocabulary, numeric and symbol systems, and conventions of science
- use appropriate ways to communicate their own science ideas and understanding of evidence.
This competency is associated with self-motivation, a 'can-do' attitude and with students seeing themselves as capable learners.
Students in Science will:
- engage in scientific conversations about the science experiences, the quality of their evidence and the evidence of others by being open-minded and being able to distinguish between their own, and others', positions and findings.
Participating and contributing
This competency is about being actively involved in communities.
Students in Science will:
- use the science conclusions to generate and evaluate a range of possible actions (including consideration of cultural, social, environmental, ethical, economic and political implications)
- understand that science is a collaborative activity and practise collaboration in their own science activities
- where appropriate, debate evidence and justify points of view using a scientific perspective.
As teachers of science, we know that science is relevant to just about everything. But we cannot assume that our students know this. And if we teach our subject in isolation from other subjects and from everyday, familiar contexts, students may never come to know it.
All students are entitled to experience a broad education that makes thematic, culturally responsive links within and across learning areas, provides for coherent transitions between learning stages, and opens up pathways to further learning.
It is exciting and motivating for students to recognise common threads and themes and to find that knowledge and skills gained in one area support their learning in another. When students discover that this is happening, their sense of what is relevant expands and they find themselves gaining confidence in their ability to tackle new challenges. Students also need to see how their learning in science connects to life outside and beyond school. Making such connections explicit can be a powerful motivating tool.
Collaboration across learning areas could be as simple as a statistics teacher visiting a science class to consult with students during the design stage of a science investigation, or a social sciences teacher being consulted on survey design.
Connections beyond the school environment
Consider bringing the world into the classroom (or vice versa) by;
- making connections with local iwi to build relationships with local mātauranga pūtaiao experts and to open up opportunities for involvement in local iwi and hapū initiatives
- linking to local primary production and their supporting industries
- following breaking scientific news, such as extreme weather events, natural disasters and health events
- inviting in local guest speakers, for example, blood donation worker, titi harvester, whitebait fisher.
- organising field trips, for example, to a winery, local restoration project, gannet colony, power station, medical laboratory, museum, zoo
- engaging in an online field trip to places beyond your locality, for example, LEARNZ
- tapping into outreach programmes provided by tertiary institutions, for example the Anatomy Museum (University of Otago), Liggins Institute (Auckland), Marine Laboratories
- getting involved with a local or national Citizen Science project https://www.landcare.org.nz/file/citizen-science-inventory-updated-may-2018-lr/open or https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/citizen_science
- exploring the National Science Challenges for a project with relevance to your local area https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/1112-new-zealand-s-national-science-challenges. These projects all have a rich mātauranga Māori thread woven through them.
Introduction to sample course outlines
These example Teaching and Learning Programme outlines have been produced to help teachers and schools understand the new NCEA Learning and Assessment matrices, and could be used to create year-long programmes of learning. They will give teachers ideas about how the new standards might work to assess the curriculum at a particular level.
Unpacking The Standards
These statements help to unpack the ways in which the Achievement Standards assess the Significant Learning in the Learning Matrix.
1.1 (Internal) Demonstrate understanding of the application of scientific investigative approaches
Despite popular belief (and that of some textbooks), there is no single shared step-by-step scientific method. All investigations seek to generate and evaluate knowledge but scientists use different approaches for different purposes and in different contexts. This is an important Big Idea in science.
This Achievement Standard requires students to show an understanding of both how to conduct different types of investigations, and which approaches are appropriate for which purposes. They will be assessed on their ability to use a minimum of three types of investigations including, where appropriate, a mātauranga pūtaiao framework. Students will process data, draw conclusions and compare the different approaches used. At level 6, teachers give direction by providing a purpose and general instructions for the investigative method. To reach Merit students would be expected to refine the method in some way.
The requirement for students to use a range of investigative approaches signals a shift away from the current state for many schools and aims to encourage teachers to explore a wider range of investigations. These include classifying and identifying, pattern-seeking, observing and exploring, investigating models, fair testing, as well as using a mātauranga pūtaiao framework. Experience with all of these in the junior school would benefit students.
A mātauranga pūtaiao investigation framework involves a clear purpose for local benefit, use of iwi experts, doing something practical, using tikanga and te reo Māori. This approach is grounded in hapu, iwi, whanau, making the context personally and locally relevant and helping Māori students reconnect with who they are. Such an investigation will often involve presenting findings to the local community, using photos of the people involved and acknowledging mātauranga learned and support of kaumatua.
In science, the term 'models' has several meanings. In this standard, such an investigation needs to use a model to collect observations and/or data. Students may change factors, testing the effect of different variables and generating some results. For example, students may use the operation of a bell jar-balloon model of the lungs to observe what happens under different conditions eg ‘lung’ perforation or partial blockage of ‘trachea’. It is important for students to then relate the model to the real situation.
Interrogation of databases forms the foundation of many investigations in subjects like astronomy and earth & climate science. So, in this assessment students can use primary or secondary data – either way, they are developing methods and gathering and analysing data to form conclusions. Students may work in groups but there needs to be evidence that each student has met all the criteria of the Standard. Students may choose to explore different investigative approaches within the significant learning of one science area or across several.
Understanding the world around us requires a variety of approaches – there is no one right way. By engaging in investigations themselves, learners are more likely to think critically about information, data and claims from the investigations of others. As students start to move into the senior school it is important for them to broaden their view of scientific investigation beyond just fair tests.
Further support and materials are provided with the Assessment Activities.
1.2 (Internal) Use science reasoning and methods to engage with a local socio-scientific issue
Developing scientific literacy is an important role for education, ensuring that students leave school able to engage with science in the world around them to make informed choices. A scientifically literate citizen can draw on the practices and knowledge of mātauranga pūtaiao and western science and use skills of critical inquiry to form evidence-based opinions as they respond to socio-scientific issues. This big idea applies science to the real world.
This Standard requires students to delve deeply into a local issue. The context for this needs to be carefully selected. This may be a concern in the school’s community or in the region, or it may be a global issue with local implications. Using a context geographically close to the school allows local expertise to be used and local impact to be considered. A socio-scientific issue could involve a locality significant to the student (eg where their home marae is) or be something personally relevant (eg sugar in food). ‘Local’ here need not involve geographic proximity but does imply direct relevance to the learner.
As these issues also affect people and use many different forms of communication they are well suited to cross-curricular integration with social sciences and English.
Students need to take into account the perspectives of those affected by the issue, some of whom may have a vested interest. In Aotearoa New Zealand it is also important to canvas the views of local iwi who have kaitiaki responsibilities over local whenua, awa and moana. After consideration of the underpinning science, students will also identify a possible response supported by science evidence.
Some students may have a dilemma when their family response to an issue differs from a science-informed response. While they cannot be penalised for honestly stating their view, to gain credit in this Standard they need to be able to articulate a science or mātauranga pūtaiao position. Careful selection of the context may avoid this predicament for students.
Responses to an issue may range widely, as will be readily found in an internet search. Students could convey a message in a haka or waiata, make a poster or placard, talk to a school assembly or local group, write a letter to the editor or an article for a student magazine, plant some seedlings, clean up an area, … the list is long. A response could also include involvement in a citizen science project. Brainstorming with students would help generate a wide range of possible responses. This Standard only assesses the design of the response, but some students may choose to go further and take that response to the action stage.
Learning about such issues helps students see the relevance of science in the world and develops their skills in argumentation and critical thinking as well as potentially connecting them to their local community. As with many of these new assessments, practice in the junior school would help develop a solid foundation in the skills required.
Further support and materials are provided with the Assessment Activities.
1.3 (External) Demonstrate understanding of how scientific ideas and processes develop and evolve
The Big Idea underpinning this Standard is about how the processes of science and mātauranga pūtaiao develop knowledge. Scientists generate new ideas with creativity and curiosity, surrounded by society and culture which both have an impact. Strongly founded in evidence, scientific knowledge can change over time with new technology finding more information and with new perspectives on how the evidence is interpreted. Science knowledge and the processes both evolve.
Often student learning is based on the current state of knowledge in a topic. Students get a better understanding of the processes of science and mātauranga pūtaiao when they explore the development of ideas – how they are generated, tested, shared and debated. They also see the creativity, curiosity, collaboration and other attributes of scientists.
This Standard provides a list of the features of science and mātauranga pūtaiao, describing them as being based in evidence and linked to theories, socially and culturally influenced and durable but tentative. For example, Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on extensive observations on his voyages in the Beagle and on his experiments. Each bit of evidence, eg from fossils and DNA, updates the theory slightly but also makes it more robust.
The list of features provides a scaffold by which students can explore the fascinating stories of science. Some of these may describe instances when science got it wrong, eg thalidomide, or when others have misused science knowledge. Stories of mātauranga pūtaiao can be told in pūrakau, waiata, haka, whakapapa – ways of transmitting historical events that brings their knowledge to life.
The list of features also makes the questions that the Standard will ask fairly predictable. Students will be asked how these features contribute to the development of ideas and processes in science and mātauranga pūtaiao in a novel context.
It is possible to see synergies between the standards. When students learn to do an investigation they will also use some of these tools, for example asking if the method is valid and the data is reliable. The story of science is also intertwined with how it is communicated.
By learning about the evolution of scientific knowledge over time, students come to see science as a dynamic process, a useful tool in understanding our world and influenced by the socio-cultural environment of the time. They will come to better understand a scientific world view and a matauranga Māori world view, being careful not to pit one worldview against another.
In their learning students could be encouraged to extrapolate their thinking into the future – science stories do not end – what are the unanswered questions, what is still to come?
External Assessment Specifications will be published by NZQA and will specify details about how and at what stage of the year this Standard will be assessed.
1.4 (External) Apply science thinking to scientific claims and how they are communicated
Misinformation abounds in social media and elsewhere. Mātauranga pūtaiao and science provide a means of checking the claims in such publicly presented information to test their veracity. Through these processes and bodies of knowledge we can also interpret representations in communicated information.
Science communication presents data and information, using a specific science vocabulary and conventions. So too does pseudoscience, but it uses them to misrepresent science and scientific viewpoints. Students need to be able to discern such flaws as misinterpreted results, conflicts of interest, confusion between correlation and causation, problems with small or unrepresentative samples, or a lack of controls, blind testing or peer review.
This Standard requires students to use science and/or mātauranga pūtaiao ideas to interpret and critique information to examine scientific claims. This will involve evaluating the credibility of sources – are they current, relevant, authoritative and accurate, with an unbiased purpose?
Through understanding the principles underpinning investigation in science and mātauranga pūtaiao, and the way knowledge develops over time, students have a means of identifying bogus claims and pseudoscience. Being able to apply the critical tools of science and mātauranga pūtaiao will help them not to take online information at face value, so they will not be fooled by messages like “vaccination is bad” and “5G will fry our brains.”
External Assessment Specifications will be published by NZQA and will specify details about how and at what stage of the year this Standard will be assessed.
Conditions of Assessment
This section provides guidelines for assessment against internally assessed standards. Guidance is provided on:
- appropriate ways of, and conditions for, gathering evidence
- ensuring that evidence is authentic
- any other relevant advice specific to an Achievement Standard.
NB: Information on additional generic guidance on assessment practice in schools is published on the NZQA website. It would be useful to read in conjunction with these Conditions of Assessment.
The school's Assessment Policy and Conditions of Assessment must be consistent with the Assessment Rules for Schools With Consent to Assess. These rules will be updated during the NCEA review. This link includes guidance for managing internal moderation and the collection of evidence.
For all standards
Internal assessment provides considerable flexibility in the collection of evidence. Evidence can be collected in different ways to suit a range of teaching and learning styles, and a range of contexts of teaching and learning. Care needs to be taken to allow students opportunities to present their best evidence against the standard(s) that are free from unnecessary constraints.
It is recommended that the design of assessment reflects and reinforces the ways students have been learning. Collection of evidence for the internally assessed standards could include, but is not restricted to, an extended task, an investigation, digital evidence (such as recorded interviews, blogs, photographs or film), or a portfolio of evidence.
It is also recommended that the collection of evidence for internally assessed standards should not use the same method that is used for any external standards in a programme/course, particularly if that method is using a time bound written examination. This could unfairly disadvantage students who do not perform well under these conditions.
A separate assessment event is not needed for each standard. Often assessment can be integrated into one activity that collects evidence towards two or three different standards from a programme of learning. Evidence can also be collected over time from a range of linked activities (for example, in a portfolio).This approach can also ease the assessment workload for both students and teachers.
Effective assessment should suit the nature of the learning being assessed, provide opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students, and be valid and fair.
Authenticity of student evidence needs to be assured regardless of the method of collecting evidence. This needs to be in line with school policy. For example: an investigation carried out over several sessions could include teacher observations or the use of milestones such as a meeting with the student, a journal, or photographic entries recording progress etc.
Demonstrate understanding of the application of scientific investigative approaches
Assessment evidence will be collected from a minimum of three investigative approaches, then a summary will be completed to compare the different investigative approaches used.
Learners may be given an appropriate template, a suitable aim/question, and a skeletal method for the investigations.
It may be appropriate for learners to develop their methods and gather data in groups, but each learner should be actively involved and the teacher needs to ensure that there is evidence that each student has met all aspects of the standard.
Range of investigative approaches for this standard means at least three different approaches from:
- pattern seeking
- exploring and observing
- classifying and identifying
- fair testing
The teacher can determine the time taken by the assessment as this is dependent on the investigations chosen.
Groups/classes/individuals might explore different aspects of a topic or whole classes might undertake the same general investigations, working collaboratively where appropriate, but ensuring evidence is provided of each students' performance against all criteria.
Use science reasoning and methods to engage with a local socio-scientific issue
Students could either be given the socio-scientific issue they are required to address or they could select it for themselves. If the latter applies, the issue selected should be approved by the teacher.
This standard assumes students have engaged in a sequence of learning opportunities to develop their understanding of various socio-scientific issues. Students should be exposed to multiple issues during the year.
With this type of assessment, checkpoints are recommended as students explore the issue and develop their response. Checkpoints support students to stay on track and get the feedback they need. Feedback is usually oral and checks for gaps and balance but does not involve detailed pre-marking. Checkpoints also provide a means of determining authenticity and collecting naturally occurring evidence.