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What is the point of GCSE Applied Science?

Discussion in 'Science' started by MarkS, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    Hmmm... well the point is to give a qualification that deals with science in the real worls, as opposed to the academic world. Whether it actually does that is another question.
    Plus, my guess is that most schools won't use it from now on, as it won't count towards the e-bacc...so kids may as well do the BTEC instead!
  2. Forgive the impertinance, but what qualifies you for commenting on Science courses? If you have a pupil working at L3 at the end of KS3, do you anticipate him/her progressing to A level? (High aspirations are good, but realism is also important.)
    Does every pupil have to know the arrangement of DNA? Does everyone have to understand redox reactions and how to balance chemical equations? Should every pupil be expected to learn and apply the formula for circular motion? I don't think so.
    But it would be good for everyone to know something about genetics and how some diseases are passed on through families; why you can't turn lead into gold but you can determine likely suspects from forensic examination; why it is sensible to wear a crash helmet if you ride a motorbike (even in countries where it is not a legal requirement). This is what some APPLIED Science courses cover.
    Not being a French teacher, I will guess that similar linguistic constructs are used in applied and non-applied courses; I will guess that ordering food, travelling by public transport, dealing with emergencies all form part of the course and perhaps there is not significant differences between the courses - I DON'T KNOW and I don't particularly care. Perhaps many of your L3 pupils don't take up their option for French; perhaps you only encourage the potential A level candidates. In Science, EVERYONE in State schools follows a course and many teachers search diligently to provide the best educational experience for their pupils; if the government distorts this by insisting on a "bac", it will be the least motivated, least able children who will suffer, but perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Well, the idea was to give a more accessible course for students not planning to do A level. There are quite a lot of good things about it - much more accessible - some students seem to enjoy it. There is a good mix of assessment - some internal, some external.
    The fact that OCR are merging Additional applied A and B and chopping out all the options suggests that there is a lot of admin for few sudents. The plans to merge the specs were in hand before the EBac was announced suggesting that they have not caught on much..
    I suspect we will polarise to triple / double with additional for the academic students, with therest mostly doing BTEC.


  4. Firstly, GCSE applied science and the BTEC science are not the same course. The GCSE is a 50% exam and 50% coursework. The BTEC is a 100% coursework. In my opinion they are not equivalent courses. The GCSE applied course does lead onto level 3 forensic science.
    hat I find is that students are more motivated to study the applied science because the course is interesting and they see “real life” applications for it. The downside to it is marking the coursework!
    The applied science course does prepare students for vocational scientific work but its not for students that want to work towards writing scientific papers!
    I hope it does continue as I can see great value in the GCSE Applied Science course.

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