STEM: Progression from GCSE to A Level

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Presentation by Andrew Powell, Schools Analysis and Research Division and Aileen Clement, Curriculum Unit

Presentation by Andrew Powell, Schools Analysis and Research Division and Aileen Clement, Curriculum Unit

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  • The review took place due to a concern that over the preceding ten years student choices had been moving away from A level science (physics, chemistry and biology) and maths.
  • Research shows that pupil prior attainment is the key determinant for progression to A level. This is why our focus is on ensuring a high quality teaching and learning experience for all young people through investment in the curriculum, supply of specialist teachers and the provision of high quality IAG which enables pupils to make informed choices and raise aspirations.
  • But misleading to suggest that pupils who don't take triple science are not receiving a strong grounding in physics, chemistry and biology. Through the statutory entitlement of core and additional science, pupils will receive a good foundation in all three sciences which will set them up for further study at A level – most take this progression path. 2008 – 63% of A level science pupils progressed via double science
  • Vast majority of pupils who enter A level science were high attainers in Key Stage 3 science. Almost all of these high attaining pupils then enter either GCSE core and additional (‘double’) science or triple science.
  • 75% of triple science pupils achieving the highest grades progress to A level science, 59% of double science pupils achieving highest grades do likewise. Proportions for pupils achieving A’s in each of the subjects are 70% for triple and 45% for double (progression to A level subjects in 2008) Pupils achieving at least grade Bs in each subject are more likely to progress to A level science than pupils achieving As in double science
  • Increase of 2% ppts in maintained schools between 2002 and 2006 In 2006 30% of schools offered triple science and 27% of maintained schools did likewise
  • 14% target based on all maintained schools offering triple science and the proportion of high attaining pupils entering triple science remaining at the same level
  • After large increase in entries in 2008 target revised Revised targets based on an increase in the proportion of high attaining pupils taking triple science in schools that offered triple science in 2008, so to reach the 17% target, in 2014 54% of high attainers in schools that offered triple science in 2008 will need to enter triple science
  • Considerable increase between 2007 and 2009.
  • With this in mind policy colleagues have set a target that by 2014 all maintained schools will offer triple science (currently about 40% do so). This will mean that about 100,000 maintained school pupils will enter triple science in 2014 (2009 figure – 65,000). However if increases in triple science entries continue at the current rate then there will be more than 120,000 maintained triple science entrants in 2014. If the proportion of pupils progressing to A level science from triple science remains steady then one would expect an extra 16,000 maintained pupils to enter triple science in 2014.
  • Based on pupils entering A levels in 2007 Pupils who achieve an A* in GCSE maths are 55 times more likely to progress to A level maths than pupils who achieve a B
  • Based on pupils entering A levels in 2007 Pupils who achieve an A* in GCSE physics are 10 times more likely to progress to A level physics than pupils who achieve a B
  • Original target was that entries would increase back to the levels they were at before the big fall between 2001 and 2002
  • 66,208 pupils entered AS level maths in 2008, which was only slightly more than the 64,519 who entered A level maths in 2009 – only about 1,700 pupils only did the AS level. If the numbers are similar for 2010 then more than 72,000 pupils will enter A level maths in 2010 – well above the trajectory to meet the 2014 target
  • Looking at increases in entries in the AS level subjects between 2008 and 2009 hopefully entries in the A level subjects will increase by 3,000 for physics and chemistry and by as much as 6,000 for biology These increases are consistent with the large rise in triple science entries in 2008
  • Key achievements include meeting the original 2014 maths and chemistry targets and first increases in physics A level take up for 20 years – consecutive increases have been seen in the last two years

Transcript

  • 1. STEM: Progression from GCSE to A Level Andrew Powell (Schools Analysis and Research Division) and Aileen Clement (Curriculum Unit) Presentation at DCSF Conference: The Use of Evidence in Policy Development and Delivery, 9 February 2010
  • 2. What is the STEM agenda?
    • The future economic success of the UK is dependent upon a good supply of skilled scientists and engineers.
    • Publication of Science & Innovation Investment Framework (SIIF) 2004 – 2014 (HMT, DTI & DfES) in July 2004 called for a step change in:
      • Achievement in science at Key Stage 4 (14 – 16 years)
      • Increase in post-16 progression
      • Proportion of students pursuing R&D careers
      • Proportion of BME and women in Higher Education
  • 3. Science and maths A level entries between 1996 and 2006
  • 4. Focus on the 5 – 19 STEM Agenda…
    • The Government’s ambition is to create an education and training environment that delivers the best in science and maths teaching and learning at every stage.
    • In March 2006 the Government published the Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014: Next Steps which announced ambitions to increase:
      • The number of pupils getting level 6+ at Key Stage 3 (11 – 14 year olds);
      • The number of pupils achieving A*-B and A*-C grades in two science GCSEs;
      • A level physics, chemistry and mathematics entries whilst maintaining A level biology entries; and
      • The recruitment, retraining and retention of physics, chemistry and
      • mathematics specialist teachers.
    • Responsibility for the STEM agenda is shared between the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). The DCSF leads on the 5 – 19 schools remit whilst BIS is responsible for the STEM agenda in further and higher education.
  • 5. What are our key priorities?
    • Increasing post-16 take up of science and maths at A level particularly take up of physics
    • Improving the quality of teaching and learning
    • Increasing workforce capacity and teacher supply
    • Improving the curriculum and qualifications
    • Improving young people’s attitudes towards science and maths
  • 6. Triple Science GCSEs (Individual GCSEs in physics, chemistry and biology)
  • 7. Why focus on triple science?
    • Our analysis shows that pupils studying triple science GCSEs are more likely to progress to A level physics, chemistry and biology than those pupils entering other Key Stage 4 (14 – 16 year olds) science qualifications.
  • 8. But Double Science* remains the route through which most pupils progress to A level science… *GCSE Core and Additional Science from 2006
  • 9.
    • Over 90% of A level science pupils achieved level 6 or 7 in Key Stage 3 science
    • And over 90% of level 6+ Key Stage 3 pupils take either GCSE triple or double science
    High attaining Key Stage 3 pupils progress to A level Science KS3 science levels of A level science pupils KS4 science subjects taken by high attaining pupils
  • 10. But those progressing via GCSE triple science are more likely to progress to A level Science
    • High attaining pupils are more likely to progress to A level science if they enter GCSE triple science rather than double science:
      • 45% of triple science pupils progress to A level science
      • 19% of double science pupils progress to A level science
  • 11. Developing the triple science target… Steady increase in triple science entries but only a small proportion of pupils entering In 2006 7% of all pupils and 6% of maintained pupils entered triple science
  • 12. Developing the triple science target…
    • Original target proposed that 14% of pupils in maintained schools should be studying triple science in 2014.
    • Increases in take up suggested a more ambitious target may be needed… but this would require more level 6 pupils to take triple science
    This increase will need an extra 50,000 pupils to be entering triple science in 2014 from 2006 levels Between 2002 and 2006 an extra 10,000 pupils entered triple science
  • 13. Developing the triple science target…
    • In February 2009, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s commitment to increase access to triple science to ensure:
      • that all pupils in maintained schools have access to triple science GCSEs by 2014 and
      • that we will double the number of state school pupils taking the three science subjects to 17% by 2014 (based on 8.5% in 2008)
  • 14. So what’s the impact…? The proportion of maintained schools offering triple science has more than doubled since 2002 2009 data shows that over 40% of maintained schools in England offer access to triple science GCSEs, an increase of 9ppt on 2008.
  • 15.
    • All maintained schools will offer access to triple science by 2014.
    • Impact is a likely increase in the number of pupils entering triple science and a likely increase in pupils entering A level sciences (physics, chemistry and biology)
    So what’s the impact…? If the same proportion of triple science pupils enter A level science in 2014 this will mean that around 16,000 extra pupils in maintained schools will enter an A level science subject in 2014 – an increase of 30% from 2009
  • 16. What are we doing to increase take up of triple science?
    • Introduction of a statutory entitlement to two science GCSEs to be enshrined by pupil guarantee in 21st Century Schools White Paper;
    • Over £6million investment between 2009 – 2011 to provide support to schools to offer access to triple science through the triple science support programme; and
    • Range of programmes to improve the recruitment, retention, and retraining of science teachers including increasing teacher training bursaries, accredited courses for science and maths teachers and golden hello for new teachers.
  • 17. Increasing A level entries in Science and Maths
  • 18. Prior attainment is the biggest factor associated with A level Maths take up
  • 19. And for Physics take up, although Gender is also a significant factor
  • 20. Developing the A Level Maths target…
    • Originally that 56,000 pupils will enter the subject in 2014…but the target was met by 2008!
    • A new target of 80,000 maths A level entries was agreed.
  • 21. Large increase in A Level Maths entries between 2008 and 2009 An increase of 3,000 entries was required to remain on course for the revised 2014 target. In fact the increase was 7,000. 74,056 pupils entered AS level maths in 2008 – hopefully a similar number will continue to A level in 2009
  • 22. On track for Biology and Chemistry targets, but below trajectory for Physics The 2010 points show the number of pupils entering the AS level subjects in 2009. Hopefully a good proportion of these pupils will proceed to A level
  • 23. Next Steps
  • 24. Targets and trajectories Trends in A level entries for physics, chemistry, biology and maths including forecast until 2014
  • 25. What are we doing to increase take up?
      • Increasing post-16 take up of science and maths A level - triple science support programme working with over 1000 schools; revised secondary curriculum; enrichment & enhancement activities e.g. over 500 STEM Clubs and promotion of practical work in partnership with SCORE and ASE.
      • Improving the quality of teaching and learning - national network of Science Learning Centres providing over 11,700 training days per annum; Project Enthuse bursaries; National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM); National Strategies CPD to raise attainment and Stimulating Physics Network providing support across England.
      • Increasing workforce capacity and teacher supply – maths, physics and chemistry teacher training bursary (£9,000), golden hello (£5,000); Student Associate Scheme; accredited courses in science and maths for 400 teachers; STEM mentoring scheme (600 teachers by 2010) and extra £22m funding to TDA to support additional recruitment of priority subjects including science and maths teachers in response to increased demand.
  • 26. What are we doing to increase take up?
    • Getting the curriculum and and qualifications right - statutory entitlement to two science GCSEs; non-statutory entitlement to study triple science for those who would benefit; new pupil guarantee will enshrine both these entitlements; development of the Diploma in Science; and revised maths and science GCSEs.
    • Improving young people’s attitudes towards science and maths – three year science and maths campaign to raise awareness of career opportunities; National Careers Coordinator; careers support and guidance for young people; Big Bang Fair promoting STEM careers and DCSF IAG strategy including a commitment that all secondary school pupils should have access to careers education and information to enable them to make informed choices.
  • 27. Forward work programme
    • Monitor and review progress e.g. through GCSE and A level results.
    • Identify and analyse specific issues to get a detailed understanding of what is happening and why.
    • Current examples include analysing the possible reasons for the substantial increase in A level maths take up and monitoring take up of Level 2 science qualifications by pupil type.
  • 28. Contact Us
    • Andy Powell (SARD)
    • [email_address]
    • Aileen Clement (Curriculum Unit)
    • [email_address]