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New science ISAs from AQA

Discussion in 'Science' started by chris_uk_83, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Has anyone figured out how they're going to go about running the new AQA science ISAs yet? I've just tried working it out and for each ISA exam our kids sit, it will have to use a minimum of 8 double lessons (a double lesson being 1 hr 10 mins at my school). At my school that's 3 weeks of teaching time which we can barely spare.

    I plan for:

    a single is 35 mins and a double is 1 hr 10 mins.

    1 single + homework for planning and research
    1 single for going through the pupils' methods and ensuring they're going to work.
    1 double for the part 1 exam
    1 double for the practical investigation including results table and graph plotting
    1 double for the part 2 exam.

    Currently I'm trying to work out solutions to this problem but I wondered if anyone has come up with anything workable yet? Since we run physics chemistry and biology separately I'm considering teaming up with the other departments to steal some of their time but this will create huge timetable nightmares.

    The previous ISAs took us 2 doubles, which was bad enough, but these are going to completely sap our limited teaching time.

    Thoughts?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Has anyone figured out how they're going to go about running the new AQA science ISAs yet? I've just tried working it out and for each ISA exam our kids sit, it will have to use a minimum of 8 double lessons (a double lesson being 1 hr 10 mins at my school). At my school that's 3 weeks of teaching time which we can barely spare.

    I plan for:

    a single is 35 mins and a double is 1 hr 10 mins.

    1 single + homework for planning and research
    1 single for going through the pupils' methods and ensuring they're going to work.
    1 double for the part 1 exam
    1 double for the practical investigation including results table and graph plotting
    1 double for the part 2 exam.

    Currently I'm trying to work out solutions to this problem but I wondered if anyone has come up with anything workable yet? Since we run physics chemistry and biology separately I'm considering teaming up with the other departments to steal some of their time but this will create huge timetable nightmares.

    The previous ISAs took us 2 doubles, which was bad enough, but these are going to completely sap our limited teaching time.

    Thoughts?

    Thoughts?
     
  3. Is this the GCSE AQA ISA?
     
  4. Sorry, yes, it's GCSE
     
  5. We were planning on getting our students to do two of the ISAs so that we could submit their best mark, but I think this is going to be unrealistic. I think the timescale suggested by Chris is quite optimistic and worry that the planning and research stages will actually take even longer!
     
  6. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    We went off of AQA GCSE for this reason. However, have you considered taking alll students off timetabkle and doing it in a whole day?? Not ideal, but should deal with most of the issues.
     
  7. We will be using lesson time but I know that it is going to be tight.
    Using a 'holiday day' off-timetable was suggested at one point - our Art pupils use the first day of the Easter holidays to come into school for their art coursework. It seems to work quite well. They have a whole uninterrupted day and do not disrupt any other classes by taking time off lessons.
    Personally, I think this could work quite well for the science ISAs. If staff have a problem with an extra day, I expect they could take time off in lieu at some point. Pupils should not have a problem if parents are told well enough in advance about the 'mandatory attendance day' and the fact that it represents 25% of the GCSE. I imagine most pupils would want their GCSE enough to turn up!
     
  8. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Occasional commenter

    I have managed to avoid the pleasure of these ISAs this year (as I am only teaching IGCSE to my Yr 10 class) but I know my colleagues are having massive issues. The main problem has been due to students absence; missing one section (planning lesson, exam 1, practical of exam 2) means that they need to catch up before moving onto the next which either delays the rest of the class or puts massive pressure on to the teachers to give up large amount of their time to get all of the class through it. Short of changing specification I can not see any easy way around it though
     
  9. Thanks, I hadn't considered a day off timetable; that could work if the head (and staff) could be persuaded. I've noticed the problem caused by absence too; the guidance actually says pupils cannot score any marks in part 2 if they don't attend the practical session as well so absence management is going to make our lives truly hell. I can see a number of schools jumping from the AQA ship to avoid these problems. I suppose it'll be a tad easier next year when all the exams go terminal and our separate sciences group won't have the downtime in summer any more but that doesn't help this year's cohort.
     
  10. this is a bit late now - i have a slightly different method, taking up only 3 singles. meas exams are taken afterschool which should be good in a hall with invigilation.
    - 1 single planning
    need to leave time to check research notes
    - afterschool section 1 exam.
    - 1 double for collecting results (pooled amongst class) and graphs [you provide method and table for ease of marking and time]
    need to leave time to check graphs
    - afterschool section 2 exam
     
  11. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    It's a nightmare!
    Whilst they have to make their own plan I then use the AQA given plan to make the actual 'doing' of the ISA easier.
    But yes, it is a nightmare, notwithstanding the written tests of 50 minues (not including extra time for some pupils) and our lessons are single lessons of 45 minutes!
     
  12. The bit I'm concerned about is how our kids are going to do the research bit - how will they find information on a good plan.

    Will I simply give them 1 hour and access to google/the internet at large?

    Should I do the research myself first and give them recommended web addresses?

    Should I include some 'red herrings' in there, so I'm not spoon-feeding them?

    Am I able to do this without a class set of computers?

    Does anyone out there have any suggestions for any of the above??

    Thanks so much,
    Lisa
     
  13. jlmorgan100

    jlmorgan100 New commenter

    We photocopied four sources and let the students choose the best. We tried to get a variety from internet sites and textbooks, getting the students to research themselves at our school would not be feasible.
    To be honest, when we actually went through the process the research was just a tiny part of the whole assessment and I would advise spending as little time as possible on the research.
    HTH
     
  14. We did these ISAs this year. It took approximately 10 hours for lower ability groups, and a few less for the highers. We produced a collection of laminated resources for them to use for research. If pupils missed one lesson, they caught up in a lunchtime or after school (before the next section) but if pupils missed multiple lessons, they were told to come in on an inset day and complete the work. We were only able to do one ISA per pupil due to time constraints, ideally we would have done two, or three as with the old ISA system.
     
  15. We spent one lesson (top sets) or two lessons (lower sets) discussing the ISA, watching various relevant youtube clips, discussing methods, how science works concepts etc. Pupils were also given a research pack (a range of various resources that we selected - we were advised by AQA to go this route) to look over. Then they were all taken off timetable for a day to complete the planning, exams and practical work in a day. We let them write their own methods and draw their own results tables for the exam but gave them a standard method and pre-prepared results table to use when they actually did the practical work.
    This worked very well and we managed to get two days like this so all our year 10s (doubles) sat two ISAs this year. Our triples are a little more complex and will only get one go for each science so they better get it right! :) We'll do the same for them when they're in year 11 next year.
    If we hadn't run it as an all-dayer then I doubt we would have finished the course to be honest. I expect it would have taken us about 5-6 lessons to do it depending on group ability.
     
  16. feelinhappy2day

    feelinhappy2day New commenter

    i am having to use an coursework day to complete the Chemistry which is an INSET day for staff! The Physics is getting done in lessons and the Biology are having the pupils off timetable for a day.
    I AM SHATTERED with all the planning and organising...
     
  17. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I now do 1 lesson preparing and contextualising then make text books available at lunchtime for research. Internet research is done for prep.
    One lesson for paper 1.
    I then use the AQA given method.
    Paper 2 follows.
    It's becoming much easier.
     
  18. I hope AQA are getting some feedback as to just how bad they are.
    The generic mark schemes make marking and moderating a nightmare. Their selection of ISA topics is a joke. All the onus is on the teacher to find suitable sources and figure out how to get these ridiculous practicals to work.
    They take around six hours to complete plus many more catching up with absent students.
    Like any coursework it is wide open to abuse.

    Summary- teaching science with this coursework has ruined this job. Without it the kids would get so much more out of their lessons and teachers might actually enjoy their job.

    Sorry for the rant but if it doesn't change I'm off. :(
     

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