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New AQA Level 3 Applied General Science

Discussion in 'Science' started by percy.ville, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. percy.ville

    percy.ville New commenter

    I'm looking to find out if anyone out there in teacher land has started delivering this new course yet and how they are finding it so far.

    My first opinions are that there is way too much content to teach in the time given to teach it and with the level of students we have got on the course, my worry is that they are going to seriously struggle on the examined units as we are having to teach it so quickly to get through it.

    I'd love to hear peoples thoughts.

  2. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    We are teaching. The content would be fine if Schools actually gave you the GLH.

    Our School has only given us 2/3 of the GLH to teach it in and we are struggling to keep up.

    We take pupils with C Science onto the course and C in Eng / Maths - But it will need to be C on higher tier next year.

    I am teaching quickly but have made flipped learning booklets to get around the issue.

    Personally I think the Uni 1 paper looks fine and should be OK.

    I worry more about Unit 3 due to the lack of support from AQA - I have no idea how to start teaching this and when I ask am simply told there will be stuff out soon and deadlines have slipped.
  3. Evolution_Kills

    Evolution_Kills New commenter

    Unit 3 is a concern for exactly the same reasons as above.

    We've gone January entry for Unit 1 and just managed to finish it this week, thats on 7 x 50 mins per week.
  4. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    I'm sharing teaching this course with one other colleague, with the students receiving 9 hours over 2 weeks, and calibre of students very similar to Thejumpingjew.

    We're going for the July entry - there was no way we were going to cover everything thoroughly enough before January. I'm not too worried about the Unit 3 paper as the type of questions are fairly generic in terms of HSW, just in relation to the case study. Having been a veteran of OCR A-Level Applied Science (high five if you know what that means!) I'm going to approach this paper in a similar way to their 'Sampling, Testing and Processing' paper which essentially means: common sense. I would also cover general knowledge of ethics in science and science in the media (the old BTEC Applied Science Unit 5... Yes, I've taught them all D: ).

    It has been mad - we should have enough hours, just about, but trying to squeeze it all in is only supported by constantly being on top of the students to get work done and in on time.

    I've been hoping to find a forum that is discussing ways to deliver this course and also share questions about details like the content etc.
    Would you all be interested in starting a forum perhaps on a different site and I will invite the relevant person from the AQA to join? When I spoke to him last he did say he would be interested. If anything, it would be good to share practice and answer each other's questions.

    Let me know if that's worth following up or just a waste of time :)
  5. Evolution_Kills

    Evolution_Kills New commenter

    I'd be interested although I'm not sure if there'd be enough use to sustain a separate forum. Nick from AQA has set up a regional AQA Google+ community in our area & I know there was talk of expanding that to be a national group.
    SMasood likes this.
  6. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    Oh how I wish we had 7 50 mins a week ...... We have 4 hours a week .... and the head wants to remove 2 of those!
  7. Evolution_Kills

    Evolution_Kills New commenter

    Isn't 4 hours a week still under the 180GLH? If you're on 2 I doubt you could do more than the basic certificate across the 2 years unless you rely on a hell of a lot of independent study.

    We get 6 x 50mins timetabled, the 7th I had to put on myself after school to get the content in.
  8. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    Evolution Kills a google community sounds good - if it does go national please let me know! Unless of course the local area includes Herts.

    Jumpingjew that's terrible! How do they expect the course to deliver results?

    We just had our mock using the January paper - whatever good that did what with no mark scheme or grade boundaries!

    Here's a question from it that I couldn't decide was the best answer:

    Barium hydroxide will react in a similar way to calcium hydroxide. State why. (1 mark)

    Some of my students out that it was because both barium and calcium are in the same group, some said it was because the type of bonding would be the same, while I asked our chemistry teacher who said it could be that they both produce alkali solutions/ they are both bases.

    Chemistry is not my expertise - any thoughts on what the AQA are looking for?

    Another question: Tell me if I've got the wrong idea here, but these bullet points from Unit 1 Key Concepts Physics section of the specification:
    • why efficiency is important and why a device can never be 100 % efficient
    • methods of improving the efficiency of a system or device
    And then a but further down:
    • the importance of efficiency in making the best use of available energy
    • ways in which efficiency can be increased in mechanical and thermal systems
    The underlined parts seem to be saying the same thing?

    Am I wrong? Or do I have too much faith that the AQA didn't rush writing this thing?

    I am happy for you to point out any idiot mistakes I have made. Physics isn't my expertise either!
  9. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    SMasood - I asked the same question of AQA the other day and am waiting for a reply.

    There is a lot a vagueness still in the spec. Having said this I am noticing that many of the exam questions provided to us as close sampleas are too big in reality for thi course. If they only have 20 marks on Chem and a Mean bond Enthalpy change or Hess' Law Qu is 4 marks (As it is on the sample qu) then that is a huge chunk of the marks gon already. This suggests questions will be VERY light touch in my mind.

    I was also frustrated to hear that no sample coursework is to be provided at the moderation meetings to moderate against. . . . Am very worried at the level expected of the vague statements in unit 2.

    Hopefully the vagueness will work in our favour though....
  10. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    By the way SMasood..... The Exam question .... I would suggest it is because both Calcium and Barium are in the same group (The spec states they should know same groups = similar properties)

    In my mind the type of bonding being the same is way too vague ..
  11. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    Say, Jumpingjew, are you going to a standardisation event soon? I'm booked in to the London one on the 23rd March. If you're going to be there, we can have a nice old head scratch!

    I got my confirmation e-mail today and I quote: "Delegates will be able to:
    *Explore exemplar learner materials from unit 2:" amongst other riveting topics. So maybe you heard different? I'm vaguely hopeful that I'll come away with a clearer approach to the whole thing. If you're not going to any of these events I'll try to share any eye openers here.

    I agree with the type of bonding thing - quite unusually lateral thinking from my group! What worries me is the chemistry teacher's response about them forming an alkali, but then they are used to teaching A-Level Chemistry, and perhaps didn't believe me when I clumsily tried to explain the whole "It's a bit like higher GSCE and A-levelly type questions thrown together", which is the impression I got from a 'Getting Ready to Teach' event last year.
  12. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    I'm not... my teaching partner went weds and found it really useful though! ..... I am currently revising all the chem with my class whilst teaching the Phys. Haven't started unit 3 yet .... but thatsthat's mainly on my teaching partner.

    I have resources I have been making using tarsia for the chem stuff if anyone needs them. I am also writing a whole massive physics ppt thing and have flipped learning booklets for periodicity, bonding and amount of substance.
  13. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    I have work booklets I've written for the Chemistry that fit with ppts, as well as booklets for the chemistry coursework (bio and unit 3 is my teaching partner's area!) Currently going through physics coursework, to be finished by Easter, then it's Physics exam and finishing unit 3 then revise as much as possible! Should all work out if a little tight. Still not sure how anyone would get the exam content done in time to sit the January exam. I guess if they have more hours a week?
  14. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    I agree .... Time wise it is so tight - we are not starting unit 3 till the pre-release comes out. Hopefully have all Unit 1 /2 done by then, but my pupils are struggling with the question standard at the moment. That is of the sample questions sent - the actual exam qu seems so much easier.

    My biggest issue is lack of info in the course - today I planned dynamics and they said that they had to improve and enhance their understanding of Inertia ........ What about it? Just the word inertia as a statement is not a learning point!

    Equally there is a question in the sample paper on electricity asking to add a component to act as a dimmer switch - they want a variable resistor ..... but going through the spec it is unclear as to which point this hits.

    I have to be honest the lack of detail is my biggest issue ... so hard to know how much detail they need.
  15. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    Detail was the word of the day at the Standardisation event I went to yesterday. Dean O'Donahue acknowledged the lack of detail in the spec, and said there would be guidance released further down the line to clarify parts of it, starting with Biology. Make sure you're getting the e-mail updates from them. For example, did you receive the Unit 1 question bank and Unit 3 resources (not the pre-release, mind)? If not they would have been sent to your exams officer. Anyway if you got those look out for the guidance - but who knows when that will be released.

    On top of that there are some amendments to the spec, for example, Unit 2 for M8 you no longer have to work out % error. This and other feedback from the standardisation meetings is going onto a document which is also being e-mailed out.

    Also you may know this already but the Pass mark on the Jan exam was 23 out of 60, with 31 out of 60 as a Merit. Apparently nobody - NOBODY - got higher than a merit!! Needless to say, the exam did not go well for the majority.

    There was an issue with the biology section wherein the majority of the 20 marks came from just 2 bullet points in the specification. So if the student hadn't covered that tiny part very well, they were doomed to failure.
    Bit disappointing that an experienced exam board would make a ****-up like that.
    It was pointed out however that the Physics section was answered quite well.
  16. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    Thanks for that SMasood..... I am getting all the emails and was very aware of the situation with the Jan exam. Having seen the paper I am amazed as I felt there were two Physics questions that seemed quite hard .... The method qu and the Newton's laws qu. I thought the Chemo seemed nice though although my partner teacher did note the issue with the Bio paper ....

    I can't believe that exam guidance is being released so late ..... and my partner teacher is furious as having gone to the standardisation the amount of extra detail given for the coursework was mad ....

    It concerns me there were no Distinctions in the exam ... I know that may of the students may not be the best at exams, but it does suggest an issue with the level expected in my mind.

    Oh well ..... Just going to keep going .....

    Still worried about the unit 3 exam ... particularly the list of jobs they need to know about and only vagueness as to what is needed....
  17. LittleSkywalker

    LittleSkywalker New commenter

    Has anyone got any useful insight into the Unit 3 paper now that we have received the pre-release? I am trying to guess what questions could come up and which scientists could be in the paper. I am hoping that the paper is going to be more about the purpose of different source material rather than the science within the journal article as I think my students are really going to struggle with that! If anyone has any ideas to share on what they think might come up it would be awesome to bounce these ideas around! :)
  18. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    Hi LittleSkywalker, I'm still working on the unit 3 paper and will get back to you with whatever opinions I have soon.

    Right now, I need to check with you all about the Unit 1 exam content for physics. This may be a stupid stupid question but it's coming form a place of "please, not more content!" - that is, for the energy efficiency sections, is it implied that the students should be able to describe ways of thermal transfer i.e. conduction, convection and radiation?
    I only ask because it's not explicit in the spec, however in the physics question bank they gave us, the questions are riddled with the concepts. I have a sinking feeling that, of course, duh, the students should be aware of this (and one would hope they remember it from their previous learning - fat chance!) or am I justified in thinking that the question bank is not tailored to the spec at all (being past paper questions) and therefore I can ignore details of the mechanisms of thermal transfer?

    Opinions please and I'm prepared for you to just roll your eyes going "yes obviously you must cover this".
  19. tanning

    tanning New commenter

    This is my first post on the forum. I am glad I have joined as I have not yet recieved the pre-release material for unit 3 - I need to chase my exams officer on that one!!
    As most of you are, I am worried about Unit 3 becasue although it is very similar to Unit 5 from BTEc Applied science, answering questions on this topic is very different to putting together reports/PPts etc.
    I had thought of giving out the sample questions with the sample source material and working through the answers that way instead of carrying out actual teaching. Any thoughts on this tactic??!!

  20. SMasood

    SMasood New commenter

    Hi tanning,
    No replies as of yet because I think we're all facing the same problem. The examples they've given to us only prove to show that the questions are going to be pretty random, and there's not much to be gained from them other than very generic science questions. We're getting our students to practice the skills based questions, i.e. reading data etc. We've also gone for covering all of the scientific professions listed in the spec, but additionally covering the role of a cardiologist and associated disciplines. I also suspect they are going to ask about charitable organisations and science - such as asking how and why they raise money, what the money is used for, how they communicate their message to the general public etc. I'm guessing they may ask about emotional language used in the Daily Mail article... maybe. Bit of a stretch? So hard to say. Until we get a hefty backlog of real exam papers, we're just flying blind.

    How is your/anyone here on the thread's coursework marking going? Lots of people I spoke to on the training day I went to a couple months ago said they were going to wait til the second year to submit their coursework. I don't have that luxury as we have a relatively low retention between year 12 and 13, so we like to get what we can in the first year! I came here to see if anyone else was lamenting at the 'Typical Unit Content' document and scratching their heads.

    Well, good luck if anyone else is submitting marks on Monday!

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