In response to the changes GCSE , we’ve developed Blueprint, a mastery curriculum framework for the 5 years of secondary science. GCSE is evolving to stay relevant in the rapid change of the 21st century. Instead of being largely a knowledge recall test there’s now 60% of the marks for transferable understanding (called AO2) and higher level thinking (AO3).
Up to now, schools who basically delivered the content in the specification during KS4, did OK. But with the cognitive demands of GCSE increasing, a different strategy is called for – one that builds understanding of both content and scientific skills over the whole 5 years.
Blueprint is designed from first principles. It has unpacked the content in GCSE and built a progression of key concepts that lead towards the ‘big ideas’ that experts have, and integrated the skills. With this understanding students will become better at applying knowledge (AO2) and analysing it (AO3). Grasping the concepts also makes it easier learn the details and facts that need to be memorised for exams. Blueprint takes the form of;
- a curriculum plan, setting out the scope and sequence of units
- teaching and assessment planners for Y7-11 units.
- Objectives at three levels of depth corresponding to AO1, 2 and 3 at GCSE.
Why is Blueprint better?
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We looked at many schemes, from schools and publishers. We did not find any 5-year plans that had a clear progression of concepts, were aligned with GCSE demands or had a coherent teaching and assessment model. Because research shows these factors are all important to achievement, we believe Blueprint is likely to provide a better preparation for GCSE:
- Progression of concepts The 5-year curriculum map is a progression of key concepts (and skills) is based on research and state of the art international curricula such as NGSS (USA). The progression help students connections between ideas, in units and over time, whereas a ‘content-based’ scheme often produces disconnected knowledge
- Alignment with GCSE demands Blueprint goals/learning objectives are aligned with the challenging assessment objectives, AO2 and AO3. Many schemes are just an elaboration of the content in the syllabus and only prepare students well for AO1. Blueprint’s 5A’s learning pathway practises applying and analysing knowledge, right from year 7.
- Coherent teaching and assessment Blueprint unit planners encourage teaching and assessment that is based on cognitive science; building on prior knowledge, giving students opportunity to grasp complex ideas, and mastery assessment
- A better preparation for the more demanding GCSE questions (AO2 and AO3)
- Topics form a progression which removes repetition, freeing curriculum time
- A system for embedding formative assessment and mastery learning
- Skills are explicitly integrated into every stage, to reach fluency
- Contexts and applications are integrated to increase engagement
- Create coherent topics so that the lessons connect and build understanding
- More opportunities to relate science to real world contexts
Year 7 unit planners
Blueprint can be used for any GCSE specification. It comes with specific references to the AQA’s Trilogy specification, and can be customised for other Awarding Bodies.