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Structure and function of the science
curriculum: key insights from Ofsted’s
research review
Dr Jasper Green, HMI
Curriculum Unit
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 1
Experts in every field depend on
rich and detailed structures of
knowledge stored in their long
term memory.
Expertise in science requires pupils
to build, remember and connect
together a rich body of knowledge.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 2
The ‘quality of education’ judgement
Quality of education
Intent
 Does the curriculum identify what pupils
need to know? Is it logically sequenced?
Ambitious? Meet the needs of all pupils?
Implementation
 Do teachers have good subject knowledge
and present subject matter clearly?
 Do teaching materials support the intent?
 Is assessment (formative and summative)
used well, and not overly burdensome on
staff?
Impact
 Do pupils know more, remember more and
are able to do more?
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 3
The science research review
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 4
The research review is NOT:
a checklist of things inspectors look for
a second framework
a document that covers all areas of science education
e.g. we did not look at science clubs, careers etc. This
does not mean they are not important.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 5
The research review does:
identify features associated with high-quality science education
recognise that there is not just one way of achieving high-
quality
identify a number of principles that guide how inspectors
look at what they see.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 6
An example
 An inspector visits a practical lesson. What
questions might she be thinking about?
 What is the purpose of the practical in
relation to curriculum content?
 Can pupils connect the theory to what
they are doing?
 What do pupils know and can do?
 What came before/after the practical?
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 7
School inspection handbook
(para. 218)
Pupils are making progress in that they
know more, remember more and
are able to do more. They are
learning what is intended in the
curriculum.
‘The curriculum is the progression
model’.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 8
So, what does it mean to make progress
in science?
Structure and function of the science curriculum
Science
Slide 9
So, making progress in science involves…
Pupils knowing more and remembering more about:
substantive knowledge e.g. the concept of a plant, the
theory of evolution or the heliocentric model of our solar
system.
disciplinary knowledge refers to what pupils need to
know about how science establishes and refines scientific
knowledge e.g. knowledge of biological classification,
variables, and measurement.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 10
‘The curriculum as the progression model’
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 11
substantive knowledge
Substantive knowledge
Pupils building knowledge of key concepts* over time
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 12
* there is no definitive list of scientific concepts
Progression in terms of…
Extent – knowing more about that concept.
Organisation – knowing how concepts are related.
Structure and function of the science curriculum
‘The curriculum as the progression model’
disciplinary knowledge
Slide 14
Structure and function of the science curriculum
Why disciplinary knowledge and not
scientific skills?
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 15
Disciplinary knowledge
Scientific skill
The ‘skill’ of using a thermometer
Make a list of all of the knowledge pupils should
know to be able to use a thermometer.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 16
How to hold it i.e. not at the
bulb
How to rest it
How to read the scale
(including negative numbers)
How to record data in a table
Measurement
Variable
Standard units e.g. °C
Repeatability
Calibration
Linear relationships e.g.
volume and temperature
Uncertainty ±0.5 °C
Significant figures e.g. 20 or
20.0
The ‘skill’ of using a thermometer
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 17
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 18
Knowledge of
scientific
methods.
Possible aspects of disciplinary knowledge
Knowledge of
apparatus and
techniques,
including
measurement.
Knowledge of
data analysis and
presentation.
Knowledge of
how science uses
evidence to
develop
explanations.
 Models
 Classification
 Pattern-seeking
 Fair tests
 Apparatus
 Safety
 Procedures
 Graphs
 Tables
 Drawings
 Evidence
 Validity
 Conclusions
 Peer review
Pedagogy
 Clear teacher explanations.
 Importance of practical work:
 enough prior knowledge to learn
 purpose in relation to curriculum intent
 forms part of a wider instructional sequence.
 High-quality textbooks can be a valuable resource for learning and teaching science.
 Disciplinary knowledge is explicitly taught.
 Learning about scientific enquiry is not confused with enquiry-based teaching
approaches.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 19
Being clear on intent
Curriculum
intent
What pupils
learn and
remember
Classroom
activity
???
Curriculum
intent
Classroom
activity
???
What pupils
learn and
remember
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 20
Systems
Regular access to high-quality subject-specific CPD.
Dedicated time for subject leadership.
SLT support science and maths leaders to work together.
Timetables support teachers to develop expertise in their subject.
Time in the timetable to teach an ambitious science curriculum.
Sufficient practical resources.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 21
Assessment
Clarity around purpose: as learning, for learning, of learning.
Feedback focused on the science content – not on generic features.
Not overly burdensome on teachers’ time.
Overuse of external assessment items e.g. GCSE questions is
avoided.
Assessment checks that pupils are remembering what they
previously learned.
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 22
To recap
The science research review identifies features associated with
high-quality science education. A subject report will follow.
1. Does the curriculum plan for all pupils to build their knowledge of key
substantive concepts over time?
2. Does the curriculum plan for pupils to build their disciplinary knowledge over
time inc. concepts? Is this connected to substantive knowledge?
3. Are activities carefully chosen to help pupils learn specific curriculum content?
Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 23
Ofsted on the web and on
social media
www.gov.uk/ofsted
https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk
www.linkedin.com/company/ofsted
www.youtube.com/ofstednews
www.slideshare.net/ofstednews
www.twitter.com/ofstednews

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Structure and function of the science curriculum

  • 1. Structure and function of the science curriculum: key insights from Ofsted’s research review Dr Jasper Green, HMI Curriculum Unit Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 1
  • 2. Experts in every field depend on rich and detailed structures of knowledge stored in their long term memory. Expertise in science requires pupils to build, remember and connect together a rich body of knowledge. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 2
  • 3. The ‘quality of education’ judgement Quality of education Intent  Does the curriculum identify what pupils need to know? Is it logically sequenced? Ambitious? Meet the needs of all pupils? Implementation  Do teachers have good subject knowledge and present subject matter clearly?  Do teaching materials support the intent?  Is assessment (formative and summative) used well, and not overly burdensome on staff? Impact  Do pupils know more, remember more and are able to do more? Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 3
  • 4. The science research review Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 4
  • 5. The research review is NOT: a checklist of things inspectors look for a second framework a document that covers all areas of science education e.g. we did not look at science clubs, careers etc. This does not mean they are not important. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 5
  • 6. The research review does: identify features associated with high-quality science education recognise that there is not just one way of achieving high- quality identify a number of principles that guide how inspectors look at what they see. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 6
  • 7. An example  An inspector visits a practical lesson. What questions might she be thinking about?  What is the purpose of the practical in relation to curriculum content?  Can pupils connect the theory to what they are doing?  What do pupils know and can do?  What came before/after the practical? Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 7
  • 8. School inspection handbook (para. 218) Pupils are making progress in that they know more, remember more and are able to do more. They are learning what is intended in the curriculum. ‘The curriculum is the progression model’. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 8
  • 9. So, what does it mean to make progress in science? Structure and function of the science curriculum Science Slide 9
  • 10. So, making progress in science involves… Pupils knowing more and remembering more about: substantive knowledge e.g. the concept of a plant, the theory of evolution or the heliocentric model of our solar system. disciplinary knowledge refers to what pupils need to know about how science establishes and refines scientific knowledge e.g. knowledge of biological classification, variables, and measurement. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 10
  • 11. ‘The curriculum as the progression model’ Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 11 substantive knowledge
  • 12. Substantive knowledge Pupils building knowledge of key concepts* over time Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 12 * there is no definitive list of scientific concepts
  • 13. Progression in terms of… Extent – knowing more about that concept. Organisation – knowing how concepts are related. Structure and function of the science curriculum
  • 14. ‘The curriculum as the progression model’ disciplinary knowledge Slide 14 Structure and function of the science curriculum
  • 15. Why disciplinary knowledge and not scientific skills? Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 15 Disciplinary knowledge Scientific skill
  • 16. The ‘skill’ of using a thermometer Make a list of all of the knowledge pupils should know to be able to use a thermometer. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 16
  • 17. How to hold it i.e. not at the bulb How to rest it How to read the scale (including negative numbers) How to record data in a table Measurement Variable Standard units e.g. °C Repeatability Calibration Linear relationships e.g. volume and temperature Uncertainty ±0.5 °C Significant figures e.g. 20 or 20.0 The ‘skill’ of using a thermometer Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 17
  • 18. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 18 Knowledge of scientific methods. Possible aspects of disciplinary knowledge Knowledge of apparatus and techniques, including measurement. Knowledge of data analysis and presentation. Knowledge of how science uses evidence to develop explanations.  Models  Classification  Pattern-seeking  Fair tests  Apparatus  Safety  Procedures  Graphs  Tables  Drawings  Evidence  Validity  Conclusions  Peer review
  • 19. Pedagogy  Clear teacher explanations.  Importance of practical work:  enough prior knowledge to learn  purpose in relation to curriculum intent  forms part of a wider instructional sequence.  High-quality textbooks can be a valuable resource for learning and teaching science.  Disciplinary knowledge is explicitly taught.  Learning about scientific enquiry is not confused with enquiry-based teaching approaches. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 19
  • 20. Being clear on intent Curriculum intent What pupils learn and remember Classroom activity ??? Curriculum intent Classroom activity ??? What pupils learn and remember Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 20
  • 21. Systems Regular access to high-quality subject-specific CPD. Dedicated time for subject leadership. SLT support science and maths leaders to work together. Timetables support teachers to develop expertise in their subject. Time in the timetable to teach an ambitious science curriculum. Sufficient practical resources. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 21
  • 22. Assessment Clarity around purpose: as learning, for learning, of learning. Feedback focused on the science content – not on generic features. Not overly burdensome on teachers’ time. Overuse of external assessment items e.g. GCSE questions is avoided. Assessment checks that pupils are remembering what they previously learned. Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 22
  • 23. To recap The science research review identifies features associated with high-quality science education. A subject report will follow. 1. Does the curriculum plan for all pupils to build their knowledge of key substantive concepts over time? 2. Does the curriculum plan for pupils to build their disciplinary knowledge over time inc. concepts? Is this connected to substantive knowledge? 3. Are activities carefully chosen to help pupils learn specific curriculum content? Structure and function of the science curriculum Slide 23
  • 24. Ofsted on the web and on social media www.gov.uk/ofsted https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk www.linkedin.com/company/ofsted www.youtube.com/ofstednews www.slideshare.net/ofstednews www.twitter.com/ofstednews

Editor's Notes

  1. .
  2. .