John Charlesworth Overview of OCR and Edexcel GCSE

Practical work
What is practical work?
Why do we do practical work?
How much practical work is in the course?
How much practical work is assessed for the
21 Century Science
Core Science
Additional Science
Additional Applied Science
Separate Sciences
Core Science
• Practical work total
• Case Study
• Data analysis
Case Study
• The subject matter is chosen by the pupil usually
linked to an aspect of the course.
• The report can take a variety of formats.
• Skills required are those taught in the course
• E.g.
Judging the reliability of data
Assessing the quality of the science
Ability to extract information
Ability to find arguments for and against
Ability to critically evaluate data
Ability to reach a conclusion
Ability to communicate information effectively
Data Analysis
• Pupils carry out practical work and collect
• Results from more than one group can be
included in the analysis
• The assessment starts at the results table and
includes the analysis and evaluation of the
Additional Science
• Practical work total
• One complete investigation
• Pupils have to plan, carry out, analyse and
evaluate an experiment.
Separate Sciences
• Single Investigation
• Case Study plus Data Analysis
Additional Applied Science
• Practical work Total
50 %
• Work related report
• Standard procedures (6)
• Suitability Test
Work related report
• Pupils research and write a report on the role
of a person whose job is covered during the
course such as a doctor, nurse, trading
standards official, environmental officer, etc.
• The research includes an interview of
someone employed in that role.
• A written report is submitted for assessment.
Suitability Test
• Based on practical work in a “real life” context
to assess the suitability of a technique or
piece of equipment for a specified task.
Standard procedure
• Pupils carry out a series of six standard
procedures which are integral to the course.
Gateway Science
• Total practical work
“Can do” tasks
Science in the News
Research task
Data analysis task
Practical skills
Can do tasks
• Eight tasks out of 43 submitted.
• These are graded tasks worth from one to
three marks.
• Assess practical skills through experiments
that are integral to the course.
• Can do any number of tasks and submit the
best marks.
Science in the News
• Stimulus material provided by OCR. Article to
research and evaluate (will include data).
• Students then complete a written report of
not more than 800 words, based on Qs given.
• Any number may be attempted but only 1
• Teacher marked using detailed mark scheme
provided by OCR.
Research task
• OCR provide the task, research prompts and
assessment criteria.
• Students have 1 week to carry out their
research and submit a report on this.
• They then complete the Case Study report
(not more than800 words).
• Teacher marked using the assessment criteria
Data Analysis task
• Analysis and evaluation of data and
experimental task.
• Primary and secondary data.
• OCR-set task.
• Teacher marked using detailed mark scheme
provided by OCR.
• Total practical work
• Three practical tasks
• Teacher assessed practical skills
• IAA tasks, practical tasks defined by Edexcel to
be carried out in class.
• Task assessed by a written paper undertaken
under controlled conditions
• 3 tasks one each for biology, Physics and
• Teacher assessment of general practical skills
Comments from teachers
• Assessed practical work must be integral to the course and use /
reinforce the learning objectives and skills which are developed
during the course.
• Teachers need the freedom to use the assessed practical at the
appropriate point in the course.
• Assessing practical skills by a written paper taken under exam
conditions seems incongruous
• Practical work should be tailored to the course, the requirements of
Applied Science are very different to Additional Science.
• However communality between Additional Science and the
separate Sciences is useful as it allows flexibility in teaching , is
easier to manage and reduces the training requirement for staff.
Moderation of practical work
• Marking is always subjective
• Training is essential, should it be mandatory?
• Depends upon the experience and consistency
of exam board moderators
• Concerns about plagiarism could ruin good
assessment of practical work.
• Pressure from school SMT due to the number
of modular GCSE courses all requiring
controlled assessment.
• Reduction in the % of marks allocated for
practical assessment